The Salvation Army kettle drive in Fillmore County raised $18,086 this year.

The drive, using local volunteers to ring bells or man kettles placed throughout the county, raises funds for the Salvation Army. All the funds raised during this drive, which typically runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, remain in Fillmore County.

The money raised is important because 88 percent of the budget of the Fillmore County Salvation Army Service Unit is comprised of the funds collected in the kettle drive, reported Joan A. Kidd, Wykoff, who is secretary of the local unit.

Spring Valley raised the most money with $8,347, although the community has made it an area drive with the local Kiwanis Club coordinating volunteer efforts that include an online sign-up and groups such as the Chester Methodist Church, day care centers and high school groups that take turns ringing the bells at two locations.

Spring Valley Kiwanis member Steve Hadoff, who collects the funds from throughout the county, noted that the students even sang Christmas carols to put the shoppers at Sunshine Foods and Alco where the kettles were placed, in the giving mood.

"You can really tell a difference in the amount collected in the kettle when a person is there ringing the bell," said Hadoff.

Other communities raising money were Preston with $4,766, Wykoff with $3,368, Harmony with $1,300 and Mabel with $303. Rushford and Lanesboro typically raise funds, too, said Hadoff, but they hadn't submitted them prior to the time the funds were turned over to the Salvation Army.