As shoppers file in to check off the items on their Christmas lists at Wal-mart over the next three weeks, they will be greeted with the ever-familiar jovial Salvation Army bells.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign came to Erath County five years ago, thanks to the Stephenville Rotary Club.

“Before that time, we may have had occasional coverage but there had not been  ongoing coverage in Stephenville,” Rotary Club President Rosemary Nagle said. “All of the funds donated in the Red Kettle Campaign at Wal-Mart stay in Erath County and benefit our community. If (people) send a check to Salvation Army headquarters, we only get a percentage of the money.”

The donations received during the Red Kettle Campaign are used to fund projects in the community year-round. Those projects include purchasing new backpacks and shoes for underprivileged children, providing Wal-Mart gift cards to Stephenville school nurses for necessity items and donating money to social workers to cover prescription costs for uninsured or indigent healthcare individuals.

“We (also) keep money available in case we have emergencies or disasters that might strike our community,” Nagle said.

But before the Red Kettle Campaign can be called a success, the Rotary Club needs volunteers to man the stations over the next three Saturdays. Volunteers will stand at one of two entrances at Wal-Mart for one-hour intervals from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

Nagle said the project has been approved for Stephenville High School students’ volunteer hours and there are already several students on the volunteer list. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and church groups are all welcomed to volunteer. Children younger than high school age must be accompanied by an adult to man a kettle station.

For more information, call Nagle at 254-396-2960 or David Swearingen at 254-977-1457.