Salvation Army volunteer kettle keeper Tara Hathaway doesn't use the traditional bell as she greets those entering and exiting Barre's Price Chopper.
"Sometimes I've had people who look like they've had a bad day and just by saying 'good morning', 'how are you', 'have a happy holidays', 'merry Christmas', they'll come out smiling." said Hathaway.
She works as a hostess at a motel, which leaves her free to volunteer here Monday through Saturday, nine to six. She says on a good day, they'll get about 150 dollars in donations for the agency that helped her through tough times in the past.
"Just feels really good and it's knowing I can return something that was given to me when I needed it." adds Hathaway.
Salvation Army Capt. Travis DeLong said Saturday, "The giving just hasn't matched the increase in need."
He says they helped 600 families and 10-thousand individuals in the Barre area last year. But this year, the number of those needing assistance jumped 80 percent.
"We've done fairly well for the economy, but we're down about 60-thousand dollars from where we were about this time last year, so it's been a rough go financially." said DeLong.
With less than 10 days left before kettle season ends, he says they're about 40 percent short of their annual fundraising goal.
The Salvation Army is also short volunteers like Hathaway.
Currently, they can only staff 16 of the agency's 22 kettles.
"Donating time and just getting out there and helping us out is the biggest thing that really could help." said DeLong.
He says the key to meeting their goal will be kettle keepers like Hathaway - with big hearts, smiles, and a willingness to stand out in the cold.
Two other gubernatorial candidates shared the gazebo with Scott Milne and Gov. Peter Shumlin for Saturday's debate.