Red kettles are as much a part of the Christmas season as Santa Claus and manger scenes. Unfortunately, in Mesquite this year the Salvation Army red donation kettles have been missing in many of the traditional locations like Ace Hardware, Lee’s Liquor and Walgreens.

Art Hammerschmidt told the Mesquite City Council on Dec. 12 that a lack of volunteers has caused more than 230 hours to go by without anyone to man the kettles, ring the ubiquitous bell and gather donations for the poor.

Hammerschmidt, who has been involved in the Salvation Army bell ringing program since 1999, pleaded with the community to volunteer for a spot on the schedule left between now and Dec. 23.

“We are desperate for any individual, church or business to find an hour or two of your time to volunteer with the kettles,” Hammerschmidt said.

“It is very important that everyone understand that the seven stores where we could set up kettles have always been available to the Salvation Army kettle program. The problem has been the inability to fill the open spaces with volunteers.”

Mesquite has always been one of a very few communities who rely solely on volunteers to man the kettles. Many other communities pay people to ring the bell and take donations. All of the money gathered in Mesquite stays in Mesquite.

The seven store locations are Smith’s (2 doors), Walmart (2 doors), Walgreens, Ace Hardware and Lee’s Liquor. Volunteers can select their own time and location.

If you would like to help with the kettle program call Art or Ruth Hammerschmidt at 702-346-7974 or 702-544-2758. You may also contact Jessica Powell at 702-345-5116.