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Steve Jordan
Local Salvation Army volunteer Steve Jordan worked his hours in front of the Pick’n Save grocery store. (Photo courtesy of Steve Jordan)

Christmas and the holidays are synonymous with giving – giving to our families, our friends, and those in need.

For 128 years, the Salvation Army has stationed people with kettles outside storefronts and the like to collect donations for the needy. This occurs almost throughout the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

Salvation Army has ringers all over the world

Now, you can find red kettles around thousands of storefronts in small towns and big cities across the country. But its reach doesn’t end there. You can find these crimson donation pots around the world, in places such as Korea, Japan, Chile, and many European countries. The Salvation Army isn’t only collecting donations to feed people – they also provide shelter, rehabilitation, disaster relief, and much more for people and families in crisis.

In Racine, only a few hundred people are volunteers currently, and the Salvation Army is looking for more volunteers to visit sites and ring the bell for the cause. They’ve been using the usual marketing avenues like word-of-mouth and a website on which you can go to register. The website is

What’s involved with being a bell ringer

Being a ringer isn’t long hours of labor or any such thing. The recommended time to attribute to being a ringer is two hours. Some do more than that, but it is not required. It’s a very simple process – volunteers show up at a given site, where they receive an apron and bell, and stand next to the red kettle ringing the bell and spreading holiday cheer. None of the volunteers are required to ask for donations. They just greet each person merrily, ring the bell, and say thank you to anybody that donates.

It’s a good opportunity to reach out and touch somebody’s life with just a small amount of time and effort on the part of the volunteers. And to complement the volunteers’ warm hearts, they can get some hot cocoa to warm their bodies. That’s what the holiday season should be about.

Obviously, the success of this campaign is measured primarily on donations, because warm feelings can only go so far. The more ringers the Salvation Army has to station at each location, the more money there is to provide underprivileged families with food, clothing, and a warm place to live. Typically, four hours of bell ringing equals about $140 per bucket. In the Racine area, there are about 20 sites actively receiving donations with the red kettle. At these sites, you can find a volunteer from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon-Sat. Happy Holidays!