Winnebago County’s Salvation Army in desperate need of bell ringers

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Bell ringers standing guard over red kettles are a common sight during the holiday season, but things are different this Christmas.

The Salvation Army said that it urgently need volunteers, and helping out can be as simple as giving up a small part of the weekend.

Non-profit leaders said that they are coming up on the home stretch for the annual fundraiser, and hope that more people are able to step in.

“We’re lagging a little behind,” said Major Monty Wandling, Coordinator of The Salvation Army of Winnebago County.

The Salvation Army of Winnebago County is looking for more volunteers to help with its “Red Kettle Campaign.” Wandling said COVID-19 means that they have less than half of the bell ringers than they did in 2019.

“I get it, we’ve seen all kinds of things happening, numbers have kind of surged, dropped back down, and I know people are scared, so it’s understandable,” Wandling said.

The non-profit does hire some workers specifically for the holiday fundraiser, but many of the shifts are covered by people just donating their time. The shortage of volunteers means having to prioritize which stores bell ringers cover.

“We’ve been doing well to cover all of those busy sites, like maybe the top ten sites we cover every day, but we could certainly could use more volunteers on the weekend. There’s still some great stores,” Wandling said. “For those who are ready to get out and maybe have their vaccinations and don’t mind wearing their mask, we could really use the help to get out there and keep the bells ringing this year.”

Wandling said that even a small time commitment can help support The Salvation Army’s mission of helping others.

“If you’re willing to ring two hours, and you can get four others to ring, you’re covering a site for a whole day,” Wandling said. “It’s very rewarding that people can know The Salvation Army helps about 30 million families across the United States, so it’s a big safety network for those in our community needing some help right now.”

Residents can sign up for a bell ringer shift by visiting The Salvation Army’s website.

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