Mayors go head-to-head to raise money for Salvation Army - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mayors go head-to-head to raise money for Salvation Army

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A cross-town competition makes its first debut.

In one corner, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the South Bend Walmart on Ireland Road. In the other corner, Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood at the Mishawaka Walmart. Both Mayors competed Thursday to see who can raise the most money for the Salvation Army.

"Well we love working together with Mishawaka, but sometimes a little friendly competition isn't a bad thing," says Buttigieg, "This is a community that's got a lot of need, but it's also a generous community."

Both Mayors hope that by standing outside and ringing their bells, residents of South Bend and Mishawaka will learn and raise awareness of families in need during the holiday season. "There isn't anything high tech about it - but it works," says Wood. "If everyone would drop in a donation each time they saw a Red Kettle, we could help all of our families in need."

He adds, "When we heard The Salvation Army was behind in its fundraising due to the shortened number of bell-ringing days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we wanted to help out.

Martha Gillam has been ringing the bell for the last 5 years at the Mishawaka Walmart. She says it's her returning the favor. "I've gotten help in the past when my kids were little. They help a lot of people, and I enjoy helping others," says Gillam. She never thought she'd be standing next to Mayor Wood, ringing bells side-by-side. "It's a blessing to see him come out and help the community as well, and taking time out of his schedule to do that," she says.

Both Mayors had one hour to stand outside the Walmarts to see who could ring in the most money. Mayor Buttigieg had a game plan, "Well I figure eye contacts going to be important. We got the media relations strategy covered. And I think it's all in the wrist with this bell ringing," he says.

Mayor Dave Wood hopes to keep the competition an annual tradition. He says if Mishawaka wins, "We we get a little bit of bragging rights. But we were just discussing that. Maybe we have some kind of traveling trophy and we make this an annual tradition. So I think that would be a good thing."

When the take was counted the winner was: 
Mayor Dave Wood = $296.58
Mayor Pete Buttigieg = $175.92

The two Mayors say the friendly cross town competition makes it fun, but it's all in the name of helping families in need.

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