Salvation Army ‘in desperate need for volunteers’ this bell-ringing season

Each holiday season Salvation Army chapters around the country host their Red Kettle campaign.

The campaign is a tradition that started with a mission to feed poverty-stricken people in San Francisco back in 1981.  Year after year the efforts caught on around the nation and today money raised from the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign helps more than 4.5 million people during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each year bell ringers are needed to bring life to the campaign. As the 2019 season gets underway, area Salvation Army leaders say they have thousands of volunteer service hours to fill.

"Volunteers are the difference between an empty kettle and one that raises about $30 per hour," says the Salvation Army's Northern Division.  Bell ringing shifts typically last about two hours and can be done by individuals, families, or service clubs and organizations.

Leaders from Salvation Army locations around the Quad Cities and surrounding areas all say they are in need of volunteers for the 2019 season.

Here's the status as of Tuesday morning, November 19:

Clinton:  The Clinton chapter still needs 4,173 bell-ringing hours filled this season.

"We knew with the loss of Paul's, our only indoor kettle site, that volunteerism would be down this season," said Captain Jeremy Fingar, "but with the extreme cold we had, the few volunteers who did sign up canceled."

He said earnings from their annual Red Kettle drive is down more than $6,100 from 2018.

Bell ringers will be needed until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Davenport: Volunteers have signed up to ring for 2,100 hours and 17,000 hours still need to be filled.

There are more than 60 kettle sites across both sides of the river in the Quad Cities.  They run from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the exception of Thanksgiving where there is no bell ringing.

"We're always in need of volunteers," said Development Director Bill Horrell.

Bell ringers will be needed until the afternoon on Christmas Eve.

Galesburg: Volunteers have signed up for a total of 35 hours of bell ringing and they still have about 2,445 hours to fill.

"We are in desperate need for volunteers," said Captain Lisa Thorson.

Bell ringers will be needed until Christmas Eve day at noon.

Muscatine:  Volunteers have signed up to ring the bell for 920 hours this season, leaving 1,021 hours needing to be filled.

"We are not on track for volunteers this season," said Lieutenant Greg Bock.  He said they especially need volunteers on the week days.

Bell ringers will be needed until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Sterling/Rock Falls:  There are about 1,800 bell ringing hours that still need to be filled.

"We're a little behind where we need to be," said Captain Dave Amick.  They're hoping a new electronic payment option, using either Apple Pay or Google Pay, will help boost donations. Click here to see how this works.

Bell ringers will be needed until Christmas Eve day at 2 p.m.

If you would like to volunteer to be a bell ringer in your area, CLICK HERE.  You can search for shifts at your preferred location and sign up online.  If you have trouble signing up, call your local Salvation Army office for help.

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