Kettle bells ring, are you listening?

Salvation Army organizes bell ringers to stand and collect money during the Christmas season.

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Prisclia Mondragon

Bell ringers stand next to the red kettle to collect money. “The money raised supports our operation or ministries all throughout the year,” Poff said.

Priscila Mondragõn, Broadcast Editor

Normally with the Christmas season, comes the sound of volunteers ringing bells, but this year the sound isn’t as loud as it once was. Bell ringers are volunteers who stand in front of stores with a Salvation Army red kettle collecting money. This year, the charitable organization is short by 700 volunteer hours.

The Salvation Army only needs around 700 more hours left.

Salvation Officer major Lynneta Poff believes that volunteering shows that spending a little bit of free time can go a long way in helping the community. Being a bell ringer only takes up two hours of the day. “[The fundraising from one person] can raise enough to pay [someone’s] light bill or feed a family of four for a whole week,” she said.

North Platte bell ringer Megan Hernandez volunteered her time with two other friends at Walmart. Bell ringing initially began as a volunteer opportunity for Mid Plains Community College, but then she realized it was more than just ringing bells. “It’s important to give back to your community, and it all goes to a good cause,” said Hernandez.

Families are beginning to do it together as well to help those around them. “It’s very meaningful and a lot of people are making it a family tradition,” said Poff.  Bell ringer Heather Winchester brought her two children to help bell ring at Gary’s Super Foods. “I’m trying to teach my kids the idea of thinking of others and giving to people in need,” said Winchester. 

Heather Winchester and her children gather around the red kettle. They ring the bells as they wait for customer to come by. “I’m trying to teach my kids the idea of thinking of others and giving to people in need,” said Winchester.

When volunteering for the Salvation Army, every second spent will go back into helping the community. To volunteer to ring bells each person must be at least 16 to be alone. “When you are under 16, you will need to be accompanied by an adult,” said Poff. The kettle donations make up about 40 to 60 percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget. “The money raised supports our operation or ministries all throughout the year,” Poff said. 

To sign up to volunteer, go to www.registertoring.com and fill out the information to be a bell ringer.

Volunteering free time is one way to give back to the community. Poff said this can involve sorting toys for children, bell ringing, or going to nursing homes. Even helping out with Friday dinners that are held at the Salvation Army. “Most of the time, the person volunteering gets a huge blessing out of the act of helping,” Poff said.

Bell ringing opportunities are still available through Christmas. “Volunteering is very rewarding and can be beneficial to all,” Poff said. She said it only takes one time to volunteer to gain insight on how helping others can build character. “It’s always best to try and see the world through someone else’s eyes,” she said.

http://www.registertoring.com