WATERVILLE — The Salvation Army could use a hand this holiday season. Many hands, especially ones attached to tiny red bells.

The organization that provides services for the poor and elderly and strives to put a smile on children’s faces during Christmas has raised one third of its goal to fill those needs, according to Maj. Karin Dickson.

The annual Christmas Kettle campaign so far has raised $27,000.

“We are nowhere near our goal of $68,000,” Dickson said between phone calls and clients stopping in the office at 225 Main St. She pointed to a calendar on the wall for scheduled bellringer volunteers and many dates are still left blank. The Kettle campaign ends on Christmas Eve.

Dickson and her husband David, both veteran leaders of Salvation Army corps in other states, took over the organization this year after Captains Bill and Stephanie Thompson retired last summer.

Dickson said as new heads of the Waterville corps, they do not have all the contacts of past individual volunteers and organizations and businesses that have helped during the campaign. “The first Christmas in a new town is always difficult,” Dickson said.

Bellringers stand outside of busy businesses with a large red kettle in hopes that shoppers will donate to the organization. Dickson said bellringers have been posted at the Waterville and Skowhegan WalMart stores and at Shaw’s, Mardens, JC Penney and Maine Made shop in Waterville.

“Right now we just don’t have enough bellringers to man all those places as much as we would like to,” Dickson said. “We have three that we count on.” Dickson said that service organizations like the Kiwanis, Waterville Rotary and Key clubs and others have helped this year.

She said anyone interested in volunteering can stop in or call 872-2172 or Maj. David Dickson’s cellphone at 802-999-3523.

Dickson said all money raised during the campaign stays in the Waterville area for people who need assistance with rent, fuel, emergency needs and youth programs. “If we don’t supplement our budget with this money than services will likely need to be cut,” Dickson said. “We will try hard to meet our goal.”

David Leaming — 861-9255

[email protected]