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Local

Conley Outreach sets kettle collection record

Carol Werdin Alfrey, the executive director of Conley Outreach Community Services, wants to thank everybody who volunteered as bell ringers during the holiday season.

It’s because of them that her organization – which serves as The Salvation Army extension site for the Kaneland area – set a kettle collection record of more than $7,700, she said. She said the previous record was about $6,000.

“It was phenomenal,” she said. “People came out on subzero days. I can’t stress enough how grateful we are for that.”

The record-breaking year followed a season that netted about $4,000, Werdin Alfrey said.

She credited the successful year to having more volunteers – including church groups, schoolchildren, families and civic organizations – and more shifts worked.

“We were bound to bring in some more,” she said.

More surprising was the number of checks the organization received in the mail, Werdin Alfrey said. Usually, she said, those donations have amounted to a couple of hundred of dollars, but this year they surpassed $1,000.

The money will help people pay for “necessity of life” items, such as rent and utility bills, she said, noting the funds also can be used for transportation costs.

The kettle collection is especially important because Conley Outreach can access it immediately, Werdin Alfrey said.

She explained The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division gives the organization about $3,000 a year that is issued in quarterly payments.

“By the time you help a couple of families, you’re out of money,” Werdin Alfrey said.

Citing high heating bills and other winter expenses, she added, “This is a really heavy time when people need assistance.”

Visit www.conleyoutreach.org for information about Conley Outreach.

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