Salvation Army gets in sticky situation

Local Salvation Army leaders have sometimes found themselves stuck when brainstorming ways to boost the organization’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.

Come Saturday, Capt. Alan Sladek of the local ministry and social service agency could find himself stuck, period — to the wall outside the Columbus Rural King building store, 2985 N. National Road.

With the help of some unforgiving duct tape, that’s precisely what will happen if residents place $500 or more into the kettle that he will staff between noon and 2 p.m. that day. The campaign is part of The Salvation Army’s annual fund drive to fund its food pantry, rent and heat assistance, plus children’s summer camp excursions and other outreaches.

Last year’s effort, which got off to a sputtering start, raised $115,320, which organizers believe to be a record. This year’s campaign currently is running about $1,000 behind last year’s slow, early pace, said Capt. Jodi Sladek, a co-leader with her husband.

So she proposed the idea of the duct tape challenge — specifically that he will be taped, piece by piece, for each dollar that donors give.

Her husband never blinked. Talk about a guy with true kettle mettle.

“I really didn’t think she could do it,” he said of the amount.

What she failed to mention is that the church arm of the ministry already is donating $195 it originally raised for another cause. So, actually, only $305 is needed for the duct-tape idea to stick.

Jodi Sladek is optimistic the goal will be reached.

Besides, the couple’s motto during their involvement with the campaign in Columbus is simple: “God will provide.”

Even for a good guy minister to be taped to the wall? And then whacked with a tossed pie in the face by the donor who puts the kettle over the mark?

“You should remind people that they can write checks,” Jodi Sladek said with a laugh.

Her only real question in the matter is what flavor of dessert will fly in the face of her spouse amid this merry mischief.

“It probably will be pumpkin,” she said.

She stopped chuckling, though, when she considered next Christmas season — a time when the kettle bells will toll for her.

Her husband already has suggested that turnabout is fair play, and that she may sit atop a sign or a roof if donors hit a specific afternoon’s goal.

“My time definitely will come next year,” she said.

You can help meet the challenge

What: Challenge to collect $305 more between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Salvation Army kettle at Rural King, 2985 N. National Road in Columbus. The end result is that the social service agency’s Capt. Alan Sladek will be duct taped to the store wall near the entrance.

He also will be hit with a pie in the face by the donor who puts the kettle over the mark.

How to participate: Donate cash or checks at the location.

Other kettles: Located at 22 sites around Columbus, including department, grocery and convenience stores.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.