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Chico >> Ken Derucher figures he been a Salvation Army bell ringer for six or seven years. On Thursday with a steady rain falling, he stood outside JC Penney at the Chico Mall, ringing the bell again.

the beginning, I wanted to do something for the community and needy children. I called the Salvation Army and talked to them. They needed bell ringers, so the first year, I put in 15 hours. I liked meeting people and I heard more about needy children and parents. I tried to do more each year. I did 60 hours, and the next year, 100. Last year, I volunteered 160 hours. rewarding. I don like to think of children who need so much clothes, food, toys at Christmas. I do this because of them. a professor at Chico State University where he is a former dean of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management, said he has a personal connection to these children.

am the oldest of eight kids. My father was sick and he couldn work. We were on welfare. Bottom line, I got off of that. I worked hard in school and life and made it through college. That part of it. college or program adopts a family. We make sure they have clothing, decent food, toys. for the Salvation Army, the bell ringing starts the day before Thanksgiving and continues through Christmas Eve.

2,000 in need

This year, according to Lt. Arwyn Rodriguera at the Salvation Army Chico Corps and Social Service Office in Chico, donations are behind what they were last year. year on Dec. 8, we had raised $62,606.22. On Dec. 8 this year, we have only raised $34,350.32. That assistance comes from money raised from the kettle drive.

believe that kids are empowered most if it starts at home. When parents get the support they need, they are better able to equip their kids, she said.

The Salvation Army concentrates on education and homeless prevention, she said. been doing this. We quietly plod along . We know that low income families without extra support could be living in their car. 11px;

Referrals for families in need, Rodriguera said, come from the Jesus Center, the Boys Girls Club and the Esplanade House.

Salvation Army bell ringers do a good job of helping the agency meet its holiday fundraising goals, and Rodriguera said she has every hope this year will be the same. year, our goal was $100,000 and we hit it. This year, our goal is $125,000. monetary donations at the kettles, the Salvation Army can always use more bell ringers. For details, call 966 7725.
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