Christmas bells will be ringing in Watertown, literally! Starting November 21, the Salvation Army will be ringing bells in front of Marketplace Foods for the first time. And the kettle, as it’s called, will be available for anyone in town to borrow until Christmas.

“Myself and Jim May are members of the Watertown Lions club, and we wanted to make a difference in our community,” said Kim Sorenson, Watertown Lions Member who helped organize this.

Sorenson used to be a St. Boni resident, and has been working with the Salvation Army for several years prior. Knowing that the Salvation Army serves in St. Boni and the greater Minnetonka area, she brought up the idea to the Lions to see if they wanted to volunteer for bell ringing. The Lions agreed to the idea, stipulating that the kettle needed to be in Watertown. When Sorensen called, the Salvation Army agreed to bring a kettle to Watertown, and the rest is history.

“I believe this is a great way for the community to meet the Lions and do something great for the community,” said Sorenson. “Now it’s snowballed into more groups working with us, and it’s become really fun.”

The kettles are usually placed in front of grocery stores such as Cub Foods and Lunds & Byerlys simply because grocers get a lot of foot traffic. Watertown has the benefit of being a small town with a solid business district, according to Sorenson, so most people walking around downtown would notice the bell ringing.

“It’s not as though people will have to drive miles just to donate if they’re already downtown,” she said.

The kettle will arrive November 21 for a “soft opening”, where bell ringing will begin all around the state. For Watertown, this will be the first time having a kettle, and there are already plans in the works around town for other businesses to borrow the kettle for a time. For example, on Sunday November 23, the Watertown-Mayer Royalty will be ringing at the kettle as a part of their coat drive, which will be taking place from 2pm-4pm in front of Marketplace Foods.

The Lions will be the main bell ringers, but the kettle is open for other volunteers to do the same. According to Sorenson, the goal is to have four bell ringers at a given time. Jim May, owner of Marketplace Foods, even presented to the Chamber at their previous meeting about the idea of the other businesses borrowing the kettle for a set amount of time with their own volunteers.

There are no goals for raising funds this year, as “any money is good money for a charity”, according to Sorenson, but the hope is always the same: to give to a good cause. The Salvation Army works to solve all kinds of problems, from poverty and hunger, to addiction and disaster efforts. If anyone wants to help volunteer, they can contact Sorenson at 952-942-6555 or May at 952-955-2134 to try and schedule a time.

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