Nancy Neisinger Sings Praises for Salvation Army’s Kettle Klash

 

By Chelsea Royer

NeuroSleep Diagnostics logoThe contestants wait for their cue with bated breath for the beginning of their five minute dash. In the frazzled moments that follow, “Kettle Captains” will dash from guest to guest collecting cash and checks with their red kettles in an effort to raise the most funds for their team. Teams such as the Aberdeen Lions, the City of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor College, and Harbor City Church – to name only a few – compete against one another to raise the most money for their local Salvation Army charity. The first Thursday in December kicks off this “Kettle Klash” as well as the bell ringing in front of department and grocery stores where funds are collected for the Salvation Army.

salvation army grays harbor
Grays Harbor College President, Ed Brewster, stands with his kettle ready for his team.

The Kettle Klash is a yearly event, taking place at a catered luncheon or dinner. Those desiring to contribute will purchase a ticket to the event, with the climax of it being the mad-dash throughout the room, kettles in tow. The brevity of five minutes seems too short to do much fundraising, but the guests have prepared for this. In the past two years, the crew has raised $54,000.

Behind all of the fun, laughter, and competition are the planners and facilitators, including Nancy Neisinger. After spending 30 years of her life teaching music in the Aberdeen School District, she was recruited by a friend to serve with the Salvation Army. Ever since, she has been helping coordinate the annual Klash.

“There is just a feeling of making a difference,” explains Nancy. “The energy of the day is so wonderful. People are very determined and we have to count out the kettles quickly after the Klash because of how competitive people are – they want to know right away how much each team has raised.”

The number of volunteers for this event adds up to about 125 participants – truly a community effort. In addition to those who donate, people are eager to volunteer as bell-ringers, facilitators, and entertainers.

The day of the Kettle Klash is full of holiday spirit as carols are sung, performances made, and the venue decked to the halls with festive decor. From recruitment, to the meal, to the entertainment, Nancy is busy bringing details together for an afternoon of giving and fun.

Since 1998, Nancy has been devoted to the Salvation Army. She is on the local Advisory Board that oversees the Grays Harbor Salvation Army activity and is a firm believer in the Salvation Army mission and in the opportunity of second chances.

salvation army grays harbor
Nancy Neisinger has been a part of the Kettle Klash for around 17 years and it’s still one of her favorite events of the year.

“It is important to teach people to be self sufficient,” says Nancy. “One year we employed bell ringers to stand in front of Safeway. Those ringers were later hired by Safeway because of how personable they were towards customers. Really, that is an example of what our job at Salvation Army is – providing a service for the community.”

Nancy explains that their goal is not just to deliver handouts, but to educate local people in skills they need to acquire a job or improve their conditions.

All donations, which can be given at any time of the year towards the Kettle Drive in Grays Harbor, stay local. Nancy is a part of the team that helps ensure expenses stay low and funds are appropriated where needed.

But whereas the advisory board used to be made up of business owners, it is now a collection of retirees, such as Nancy. These board members are passionate about cultivating an attitude of volunteerism – especially amongst the youth and teens. With many high school students meeting their community involvement requirements through the Salvation Army, Nancy has high hopes for recruiting the next generation.

salvation army
Fred Rapp, representing the East County Rotary team, makes his five minute dash.

“We need young blood,” states Nancy. “People make the mistake of thinking that if they get involved, it’ll take up too much time. My advice is just do a little bit! Start small – you will find joy.”

For those who are doubtful, Nancy’s joy is contagious and her belief in her mission firm. Should you wish to join the advisory board, join a Kettle Klash team, or find another way to get involved, you can contact Nancy via her email or contact Chairman Al Waters at 360-533-7079.

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