The Columbus Salvation Army is gearing up for the sounds of the Christmas season — the ringing of bells as part of its annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The annual push from early to mid-November through most of December asks people to donate money for the church and social service agency to help the less fortunate with utility bills and rent, groceries and other assistance. Plus, it funds summer camps for needy area youngsters.

Capt. Alana Sladek and Capt. Jodi Sladek of the local Salvation Army office are encouraging residents and members of churches, service groups, organizations and more to consider volunteering for two-hour time slots in the campaign. Locations range from inside Columbus’ FairOaks Mall to the entrances of area supermarkets and department stores.

The church has faced substantial hurdles here and elsewhere across the nation in recent years in getting enough volunteer help to boost the campaign. To fill in gaps of unmanned kettles, the Sladeks frequently have had to use paid people as bell ringers.

Information and registration: 812-372-7118; registertoring.com

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.