One of the traditional signs of the Christmas season is the sound of a ringing bell accompanied by the sight of a bell ringer at a Salvation Army red kettle. While the bell-ringing season won’t officially kick off until mid-November, The Salvation Army has an urgent need to register additional bell ringers to help raise funds to aid those in need. Currently, there are still over 2,800 hours of ringing that remain unfilled.
The Red Kettle initiative is critical to The Salvation Army’s $525,000 holiday fundraising campaign, as nearly 80% of the organization’s funding is raised in the last three months of the year. These are funds that are needed to provide struggling families with meals, emergency shelter, and emergency financial assistance throughout the year.
While the pandemic may have abated in some ways, Minnesota families are still struggling economically. According to PolicyLink.org, nearly two-thirds of U.S. households are living paycheck to paycheck, and with higher prices for food, gas, rent and heat, many families are forced to choose between feeding their families and paying rent.
“We have seen more people relying on The Salvation Army for help,” said Captain Andy Wheeler, one of the corps officers in Mankato. “In turn, we rely on volunteers for their help at this most important time of year.”
The kettle tradition started in San Francisco in 1891 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee collected coins in a kettle to fund a Christmas dinner for the poor and destitute. The idea spread and, today, that tradition continues for many.
“Volunteers play an important role in helping us meet our objectives,” said Leslie Johnson, Business Administrator in Mankato. “And if you ever feel like you’ve forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is, ring a bell at a red kettle and you’ll be quickly reminded.”
Salvation Army red kettles continue to accept cash, but also offer many safe and easy digital payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, and QR code scanning.
Individuals, families, churches, businesses, neighborhood associations, and others can register to ring or find more information at www.registertoring.com