The Pulaski County Salvation Army raised a record setting $80,0168 during its Tree of Lights campaign last year, breaking its previous record of over $58,000 and hopes to break records again this year.

The organization is trying some new things to reach its goal of $55,000 this year. It recently launched a new website and a Facebook page to make signing up to be a bell-ringer, and also began taking donations online.

Visitors to the website can view the bell-ringing calendar, sign up for the time slot they want and even make a donation. Bell ringing chair Jim Mathews advocated for the website last year and got his wish this year.

Volunteers can still call Mathews at (573)774-2757 between noon and 5 p.m. to sign up to ring the bells, especially if they are signing up for multiple slots, but the new website offers volunteers a chance to see what time slots are available to easily make decisions about when and where they would like to volunteer.

In addition to the website, Pulaski County Salvation Army launched a Facebook page at where they have been putting pertinent information about their organization, the Tree of Lights Campaign, links to sign up to ring bells, information about where donations go and news related to the organization.

According to their Facebook page, the Pulaski County Salvation Army assisted 58 needy families in August with $4,354.72 in utility bills, 13 families with $970.00 towards rent and 29 families with $979.00 towards medical and other expenses.

Eighty-five percent of the money raised in Pulaski County stays in Pulaski County, according to Pulaski County Salvation Army chairman Gary Porter.

Pulaski County Salvation Army tithes 10 percent to its state administration, which in turn uses that to fund other programs for the benefit of those in need, and the other five percent goes to disaster relief and the Highway Patrol so that they can write a voucher in an emergency, according to Porter.

The Pulaski County Salvation Army has partnered with Good Samaritan Resource Center for the last 20 years to distribute food baskets at Christmas time and provides the bulk of the food for that endeavor.

Additionally, Good Samaritan Emergency Services Coordinator Vicky Hurlbutt distributes the Salvation Army's benevolence fund, which is what assists people in need.

The money left over after the Christmas programs is used to help “provide medicine, gas, heat, motel bills, groceries, rent and just about any legitimate need,” Porter said in a press release about last year's campaign.

Did you know?

In October alone, the Pulaski County Salvation Army assisted:

45 families with $3,418.20 in utilities

9 families with $803 towards rent

20 families with $1,033.02 with medical and other expenses.