Salvation Army: volunteer bell ringers down 70% in Duluth area

Salvation Army: volunteer bell ringers down 70% in Duluth area
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:08 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) The Duluth branch of the Salvation Army is searching for more volunteers as they’re facing a much higher number of unfilled bell ringing shifts than in previous years.

In fact, Salvation Army spokespeople say volunteer numbers for their Red Kettle campaign are down 70 percent from a typical year at this time.

“This year I don’t know why people aren’t signing up as much. It really is unfortunate because each time we miss a shift, we miss huge opportunities to make a lot of money,” said Kristy Eckart, the Kettle Coordinator for the Greater Duluth Area Salvation Army.

She says they have more than 3,000 hours of unfilled shifts, and that could possibly mean losing out on thousands of dollars.

One longtime bell ringer is Roland Schaefbauer. He has been doing this for nearly a decade because he loves being able to give back and greet people during the holidays.

“You know you can put money in an envelope, but to actually interact with people and wish them a happy holiday it’s so much more meaningful than putting a stamp on an envelope and mailing a check-in, said Schaefbauer.

Eckart agrees and says bell ringers’ efforts, like Schaefbauer’s, have an impact all year round, not just the holidays.

“it’s not just helping at Christmas time. This is our main bulk of money to help in our feeding program, to help people with the food shelf, help people in housing that are at risk of being homeless. The list goes on and on,” said Eckart.

The Duluth branch of the Salvation Army is hoping to raise $220,000 this year.

So far, they have raised more than $7,000.

For more information about how you can help out, you click here.

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