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St. Clair Rotary Club spurs holiday drive for Salvation Army

by Candice Miller on December 19, 2014

By Jim Bloch

Published: Thursday, December 18, 2014
Voice Reporter

Members of St. Clair Rotary and local supporters of the St. Clair County Salvation Army are hoping to raise $21,000 in their annual bell-ringing campaign outside Nieman’s Market in the city of St. Clair this December.

Last year, the group raised $20,488, the most it had ever raised.

“The St. Clair Rotary Club began its annual coordinated effort on behalf of the Salvation Army Thursday, Dec. 4 at Neiman’s Family Market in St. Clair,” said Rotarian Gerry Mason. “Joining St. Clair Rotary are Crossroads Community Church, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and student members of Paul Decker’s eighth-grade St. Clair Middle School band.”

Capt. Tom Bliss from the sheriff’s department, Pastor Mike Cadrette from Crossroads and Maj. Mark Turner from the Salvation Army are all members of St. Clair Rotary, said Mason.

“Unity School Bus Parts from Marine City became our first official corporate sponsor,” said Mason. “Its owner, Ed Mastry, is a St. Clair Rotarian. Martha Collins from the River Crab/Blue Water Inn has joined in the effort along with the local Pepsi distributorship.”

Members of the eighth-grade band played at Neiman’s from 11 a.m. to noon on Dec. 6 and 13.

“Bell ringers from Crossroads Community Church and the sheriff’s department have joined St. Clair Rotarians by coming out big to ring the bell at Neiman’s,” said Mason. “Sheriff Tim Donnellon always looks forward to ringing the bell and did so this year in much better weather than 2013.”

Rotarians and other community supporters filled 72 bell-ringing slots in December. St. Clair Rotarian Ralph Livingston handled scheduling this year.

“Ralph and I are co-chairs of the committee,” said Mason. “It’s fun. We have a good time. It’s truly a community effort.”

There are other ways to contribute, too.

“In addition to bell ringing, donors can set up a virtual online red kettle of their own at or do their shopping on,” said Mason. “ is the same as except that a portion of your total shopping proceeds will go directly to the local Salvation Army Citadel with no additional cost to shoppers. Finally, donors can take and make ‘The Red Kettle Challenge’ when you ring the bell or make a donation.”

The money raised during the holiday campaign will stay in St. Clair County. Last year, the Salvation Army met the needs of over 3,000 individuals and provided food, clothes and toys to nearly 1,100 families in the county last Christmas.

The Salvation Army’s goal in St. Clair County is to raise $400,000 by Christmas Eve.

“We’re just about half way there,” said Mason on Dec. 12.

Congresswoman Candice Miller kicked off the countywide bell ringing effort on Nov. 10 at the Salvation Army’s Port Huron Citadel, located at 2000 Court St. in Port Huron.

“Rep. Miller also recorded a public service announcement for our local Salvation Army and made a donation,” said Mason.

The St. Clair County Salvation Army has been serving St. Clair County for 130 years, since 1884. The St. Clair Rotary Club recently celebrated its 90th birthday.

“It’s a great cause and I love doing it,” said Mason.

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer. Contact him at

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