FAIRFIELD — The field is smaller but the time to beat is longer as Kroc Center director Jason Perkins goes for the nonstop red kettle bell-ringing record.
He is one of eight volunteers across the country who began ringing the bell Tuesday in hopes of surpassing the 60-hour ringfest last year. Some of the rules have changed and Perkins said they will benefit him. Instead of a 10-minute break every four hours, the bell ringers get five minutes every hour and can save them for use at one time.
Food is also allowed this year. Last year it was hydration drinks only.
“We have done everything, every last item of the to-do list has been taken care of,” said Kelsey Pearce, who is wearing a variety of hats to help Perkins succeed. “If he doesn’t do it this year, I’d be surprised.”
Pearce is the director of congregational life for the Kroc Center.
The two have been working out a strategy for months. Perkins has also undergone some physical training. And just a few short months ago, had a new pacemaker put in.
Staying focused is the key to Perkins going the distance, said Suisun City Corps officer Capt. Jonathan Harvey. The friendly competition to break the world record is the fun part.
“We want to take the world record home. We want to win,” he said.
Helping those in need is the challenge, Harvey said. Perkins’ presence in front of the Fairfield Walmart should also serve as a reminder to the plight of the less fortunate. Nationally and locally, the Salvation Army is seeing an increase in request for services, Harvey said.
“Throughout Solano County we are seeing an unusually high percentage of people (asking for help) the first time,” he said. “A lot of people are dealing with homelessness and unemployment.”
Underemployment is another obstacle, he said. So many people are trying to make ends meet but aren’t able to, he said.
“What better world record (to break) is there than doing the most good for families in a 60-hour period?” Pearce said, rhetorically.
Last year, Perkins got to the 57-hour mark without food, sleep or even a stool to sit on. This year, he’s hoping for 70 to 80 hours of consecutive bell ringing. He also hopes the public will stop by and offer support. There are barrels on hand for those who would like to donate food and toys. A little conversation in the wee hours of the morning would be nice, too, he said.
Community businesses and organizations have partnered in the endeavor. Perkins will have two meals a day provided as well as an RV to use for a quick shower or break.
Recording artist Transparent will stop by and perform at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Dennis Bair was one of the first people to stop Tuesday morning and wish Perkins the best.
“I figured I should get out here before he freezes,” Bair said with a smile, after making a donation to the red kettle. “We want him to do well.”
The competition is being streamed lived at GoKroc.org/WorldRecord. Regular updates can be found via Twitter at #ringiton.