Meadville Tribune

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November 29, 2013

For Salvation Army, young musicians try new 'instrument'


CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Helping the community

Their efforts, and the efforts of all the volunteers to come out in what can be sometimes brutal weather and staff the Salvation Army’s kettles, is deeply appreciated, according to Mary Alice McMunn, who chairs the Cambridge Springs Area Salvation Army Service Unit, which serves the communities of Cambridge Springs, Venango and Saegertown.

Unlike larger Salvation Army Corps facilities such as Meadville, a service unit is an all-volunteer group, McMunn explained, noting that they work very closely with the Salvation Army in Pittsburgh.

The annual kettle drive between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the only thing they do to raise money, McMunn said, although they also have kettles with them during the Cambridge Springs Firemen’s Parade and place smaller kettles around town from time to time.

The Cambridge Springs organization has ringers in all three locations on Fridays and Saturdays during the holiday season, which only includes four weekends. Salvation Army bells are not rung on Sundays. Volunteers are also on duty in Saegertown at H&H Grocery store and Saegertown Hardware.

Funds raised in the area stay in the area, McMunn stressed, noting that while the Salvation Army keeps 10 percent of the proceeds to offset administration costs, “We use 90 percent of the money raised to help people in Cambridge, Saegertown and Venango.”

It was Dennis who put the plan into place after McMunn got a brilliant idea about adding a musical note to the traditional bell ringing when band members started playing Christmas carols while she shopping at the band’s craft show last year. But Dennis stresses that she couldn’t have done it without the support of Band Director Jeffrey Beltz.

The musicians are competing for the coveted Traveling Bell youth award , which is presented to the group collecting the most donations.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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