The Aberdeen Corps of the Salvation Army will kick off its holiday bell-ringing season Thursday with the 16th annual Kettle Klash.
The event will begin at noon at Harbor City Church, 1700 Cherry St. (at Scammel) in Aberdeen. Lunch, provided by O’Brien’s Catering, is $20 a plate.
About 15 teams from all around Grays Harbor solicit funds from various donors in advance. Then, during the event, the team captains spend “a very hectic five minutes” running around the room trying to get their buckets filled up further by those in attendance, according to local board member Mike Barkstrom.
The buckets, filled with the new donations in addition to what the teams collected previously, then will be taken to another room for the money to be counted.
While that’s going on, guest speaker Mark Bruener will take the stage. The Aberdeen High School alum (Class of 1991) went on to become an All American tight end at the University of Washington and a first-round draft choice for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since his 14-year NFL career, he’s been a scout for the Steelers.
Once the money is tallied, the top two or three teams will be announced and a traveling trophy awarded to the winner.
Then, starting Nov. 29, volunteers will ring bells outside various local businesses daily (except Sundays) through Christmas to raise funds for Harbor needs.
Salvation Army advisory board member Steve Beck and his entire family will be among them.
“We decided three years ago to do this as a family in honor of my parents, so this will be the third year we’ve done it,” he said proudly.
The group is seeking businesses and organizations that want to have their employees or members tend a kettle for an hour or more at a time. Anyone who’d like to participate may contact Jennifer Chuks at 360-533-1062, ext. 105, to coordinate it.
“We have church groups that ring, our Olympians hiking group this year is going to ring for a day, the Lions do it, Altrusa is doing it — a large number and all kinds of groups,” said Beck.
“We serve about 1,800 people a month with food and services, and the average value of that is $2,600 a month,” said advisory board chairman Al Waters. “That’s got to come from somewhere. So we have the bell ringing and the Kettle Klash — and the goodness of people’s hearts is what makes that happen.”