Salvation Army needs bell ringersBy Emily Etheredge Published 2:55pm Friday, December 14, 2012
Donations are down and the Salvation Army needs community support in the form of volunteer bell ringers for the Red Kettle program.
Red Kettle coordinator with both Shelby and Chilton counties Deejay Fox said volunteers are sparse for the last week and a half before Christmas.
“I’m not sure why but a lot of people are just not volunteering to ring the bells these last couple of weeks before the holidays,” Fox said. “There are a few booked days but for the most part we are wide open as far as anyone wanting to volunteer to ring the bells.”
Fox said due to the small number of volunteer bell ringers the Salvation Army must employ bell ringers to stand and ring, deducting money from the organization to pay those ringing.
“A paid bell ringer makes $7.50 an hour to ring the bells,” Fox said. “On average, a good kettle brings in about $20 an hour so we end up barely making enough to pay our bell ringers.”
Fox said the only kettle location to ring the bell for those living in Chilton County is at the Walmart in Clanton.
Fox said a lot of churches and companies will adopt a kettle for the day and bring in a large number of people to ring the bell at different intervals of the day.
“We have organizations like the Rotary clubs, Key clubs and Boy Scouts who will adopt a kettle and just have different people throughout the day ringing,” Fox said. “We really like when we have a group come and offer to adopt the kettles because it makes scheduling things a bit easier due to knowing they will be ringing for an entire day.”
Fox said the standard volunteer time to ring a red kettle is four hours and the more jolly the bell ringer, the more compelled someone will feel to donate.
Fox tested this theory by placing red kettles in front of different businesses mostly in Shelby County without a bell ringer and found that no one placed money inside the kettles.
He then placed a bell ringer alongside a red kettle that brought in large amounts of money.
“People enjoy the bell ringers,” Fox said. “The more enthusiastic they are about ringing their bells the more people want to donate to them.”
Fox said volunteers are preferred to be 18 years of age or older, but if different high school organizations are interested in donating time, they can volunteer in groups.
“If kids want to help ring the bell they are more than welcome to if accompanied by an adult,” Fox said.
Fox said the original goal set for both Shelby and Chilton counties to raise with the red kettles was $200,000 but changed the goal to $165,000 and fears the goal might not be met.
“If we go the rate we are going I think it will be tough to make our goal,” Fox said. “Currently, we are at $90,000.”
The bell ringers do not ring on Sunday due to the Salvation Army being a Christian organization but Fox encourages anyone interested in volunteering to have fun ringing in the Christmas holiday for a good cause.
Anyone interested in volunteering to ring the red kettles is invited to call Fox at (334) 850- 2327.