SPARTA, NJ – The Christmas season brings many familiar sights and sounds.  Kiwanis members in a red apron ringing a brass bell for the Salvation Army covers both.

This year 15 Sparta Kiwanis Club members rang the bell, raising $9,692 in cash and 43 pounds of coins for an approximate total of $10,173. Sparta High School Key Club rang the bell on two Saturdays in December. Four friends of Kiwanis members also helped out, according to Kiwanis member Lawrence Palmer.

The Sparta Kiwanis Club has rung the bell for the Salvation Army since the early 1980’s, collecting a total of more than $483,000 for the organization, Palmer said.

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“We extend a special thanks to Stop and Shop and the German Christmas Market for allowing us to ring,” Palmer said.

The Sparta volunteer organization annually sponsors the Great Sparta Duck Races, Fall Celebration for Families and Barbecues for the residents at Knoll Heights.  Monthly they collect food for the Sparta Ecumenical Council Food Pantry and give thousands of dollars to graduating high school seniors.

The club meets at Homer’s Restaurant each Thursday 7:30 p.m.