Salvation Army facing a shortage of bell ringers this season

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 12:33 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - One hundred and thirty Christmases ago, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee made a commitment to feed 1,000 of needy San Francisco residents, but there was one problem: he didn’t have the money.

He set out an iron pot to collect donations. The idea not only worked but it evolved into the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program. Today, the familiar kettles and bells can be found all over the world this time of year.

In Anchorage, during the months of November and December, the Red Kettle program is responsible for raising two-thirds of the Salvation Army’s budget, but it’s been tough finding people to ring the bells.

“We have the remnant of COVID that is taking place, so we don’t have the numbers of volunteers that we have had in previous years,” said Alaska Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Doug Tollerud.

It takes hundreds of volunteers to run the Salvation Army’s Christmas programs. They even offer paid bell ringer positions for people in need, but many of those are also going unfilled. People can volunteer for shifts as short as two hours.

“It’s not too late to get involved,” Tollerud said. “We have a couple weeks before Christmas and we want to keep the pots boiling, and we need our volunteers, and need those who are willing to come up alongside the Salvation Army and give the contributions needed to make a better Christmas for many of our families out there in Anchorage.”

To volunteer or make a donation, you can visit the Salvation Army website.

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