A battle of the bells

To get into the holiday spirit, the Colonie and Guilderland chambers of commerce are going head to head in a Salvation Army Kettle Challenge to see who can raise the most money.

It's a friendly competition, though, so don't expect any trash talking between the two organizations.

We're playing for pride here. That's really what it boils down to, said Colonie Chamber of Commerce President Tom Nolte. "We know that the end goal is that we provided an opportunity for ourselves and our members to support a great organization. I hope this will be the first of many competitions with the chambers."

The battle will be played out at Crossgates Mall and at the Colonie Center mall, where every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, town officials, local celebrities, businesses and families will act as bell ringers.

Nolte said the chamber was looking for ways to put a new spin on the fundraiser this holiday season, and Guilderland Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Burbank was very keen on the idea when he presented it to her.

"She was all for it," Nolte said. "She saw that anything that came out of this competition would be for a worthwhile organization."

Burbank said the competition highlights the bond and charitable quality that a town like Guilderland has when it comes to raising money.

"This is another great way to show how Guilderland pulls together to donate money," she said.

Several organizations are signed up, such as Pop Warner, MBT Bank, and high school groups such as Future Business Leaders, Burbank said Friday, Dec. 10, as she was getting ready to don a Santa hat with her family to ring the bell at Crossgates.

Nolte said that because not everyone has the time to ring the bell for two to four hours, businesses can also host an online kettle, place a kettle in their office or just make direct contributions to either of the chambers.

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