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Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
Let the bells ringPosted Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at 8:18 AM
In many countries, The Salvation Army is most recognized during the Christmas season with its volunteers and employees who stand outside of businesses and ring bells to inspire passers-by to place donations of cash and cheques inside red kettles.
I am embarrassed to say there have been times I avoided the bell ringers - but that will never happen again.
Salvation Army Bell Ringer coordinator Dale Carver put out an email last week, needing people to help ring bells on Saturday. I quickly volunteered to help out.
It was great fun.
Many people recognized me, even with the Santa hat, and Buzz Patterson of KAYL/KKIA whom was stationed with me at Fareway.
There were very, very few of those avoiders. Some put in large bills, some put in single bills. Some put in a handful of change, some dropped in a single coin. Some stopped to put their donations in before they entered the store, some when they exited with their grocery carts full. All funds, no matter the size, are appreciated and useful and we graciously thanked everyone for their donations.
It was Delores Britt that got Storm Lake involved in the Salvation Army about 25 years, after it was suggested by Shari O'Bannon, who was looking for volunteering opportunities for her two sons.
Delores retired from the coordinator position and Dale, who has been a faithful bell-ringer himself for 15 years, took over. Delores still volunteers each year and rounds up friends from the Lions Club which she is a member of and from Security Bank where she is retired from to help out.
It should be noted that 90 percent of the funds brought in during bell ringing stay in Storm Lake.
The bell ringer volunteers are scheduled for two-hour periods and stand at the doors at Fareway, Hy-Vee and two doors at Wal-Mart. There are three shifts on each of the Saturdays.
Last year, Dale said, was a record-breaker for donations with $6,286 collected in three Saturdays. Of those funds, $6,200 stayed in SL.
There are four Saturdays this year that the bell ringers will be out so Dale is hopeful that even more dollars will be collected than last year.
He is hesitant to take any glory for his involvement. "It takes a lot of people," he said. Sixteen volunteers are needed each Saturday.
When the organization first began, there was an actual Salvation Army Board that met regularly. Now, just Delores, Dale and Joan Spooner of Upper Des Moines (who finds the greatest need for the dollars) work together. The SL Police Dept. also assists. Needs have varied from helping purchase clothing for children to helping out during emergency needs.
It was great fun seeing parents and grandparents prompting their young children and grandchildren to walk up to us and deposit the money in the bucket while I was helping out. How wonderful to instill that act of kindness at such a young age.
Denise Struck wilfully dropped her donation into the bucket and told us, "My father always told me to never pass by a Salvation Army bucket without putting something in..."
Dale is thrilled with the donations and the way the community steps up to help out such a great cause.
The Salvation Army began in 1865, the work of William Booth, a London minister. Salvation Army organizations are found in over 106 nations around the world.
Please don't pass the bell ringers up when you see them.
Lorri Glawe is a reporter for the Pilot Tribune in Storm Lake.