Salvation Army seeking volunteer bell ringers

Published 4:37 pm Monday, October 26, 2015

By Leisl Lemire | Special to the Advertiser

Ringing bells and red kettles: It’s one of the first signals that the Christmas season is upon us.

The Salvation Army 2015 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign is mobilizing and seeking individuals who are willing to volunteer their time in front of stores this holiday season.

Currently, expect to see the bright red kettles and hear the cheerful sound of bells as you enter Clanton Walmart, Winn-Dixie supermarket in Clanton and Jemison Piggly Wiggly.

The newly formed Chilton County Salvation Army Committee and Chairman Bill Collum hope to see more businesses open up their storefronts to this avenue of giving.

According to Capt. Rufus McDowell, 83 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to meeting needs and not to corporate costs.

Because of this, volunteers are needed and preferred beginning Nov. 13, but the Salvation Army will pay individuals $7.50 an hour to be bell ringers.

Susie Kelley, chairwoman for the Shelby County Salvation Army Committee, shared her past experience as a bell ringer, saying that it was extremely rewarding.

“You see the goodness in people,” Kelley said. “Many times, people who don’t appear to have extra money are the ones who reach in their wallets to give.”

Also, Kelley shared that she sees many parents and grandparents using the ringing bells and kettles as an opportunity to teach children and grandchildren about the joy of giving to others.

One of her most profitable evenings in receiving donations was the night she took her grandchildren with her to help when it was extremely cold. Bundled up tightly, they braved the cold to take part in helping meet the needs of those less fortunate.

“It was amazing to see so many passers-by moved to give that night and seeing the joy in the faces of my grandchildren made it worth braving the cold,” she said.

A lesser-known but valuable option for giving is to set up an online kettle. Anyone can set it up and inform family and friends of the opportunity to give online.

For more information about offering your business as a place for a bell ringer, for volunteering or working as a bell ringer, or for setting up an online kettle, contact McDowell at (205) 663-7105 or Renee Helms at (205) 299-7722.

Rufus and Julia McDowell are overseeing the campaigns in both Chilton and Shelby counties.