The holiday season just doesn’t have that same old ring to it, as the local Salvation Army sees it.
But the charitable organization would like to change that.
The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign began the weekend before Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 24. But this year’s campaign already is struggling in its first weeks with not enough people to ring bells at each of the donation stations.
The shortage of bell ringers has been a struggle locally for at least five years, according to Salvation Army officials, who realize that some people find it tough giving their time during one of the busiest periods of year.
Money from the Red Kettle campaign allows the Christian church and social service agency to help the less fortunate in a variety of ways. Eighty-three percent of the campaign’s donations go directly to those causes, according to the Salvation Army’s Indianapolis office, which oversees operations in Bartholomew County. The remainder goes for administrative costs.
Last year’s campaign was so hampered by the ringer shortage that many store sites went without a ringer except during some weekend periods.
The organization has two types of ringers, volunteers and paid ringers, who earn $8 per hour. Volunteers can be individuals or groups, so shifts of varying lengths can be arranged. Volunteers also can choose which community to ring in, so you don’t have to drive a long distance.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the group’s primary and most public fundraising effort. The money brought in before Christmas is meant to fund programs throughout the year. The Salvation Army is involved in a variety of local efforts, including food pantries, recovery programs and family assistance. Plus, it funds summer camps for needy area youngsters. On the national level, the organization is one of the lead agencies in disaster relief.
But to help fill the kettles, the Salvation Army needs bell ringers. So if you have a couple of hours to spare this holiday season, thousands of central Indiana residents — including many here in Bartholomew County — could use your help.
To volunteer as a Salvation Army bell ringer, go to salvationarmyindiana.org/. You can choose the community where you will help collect money.