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Register to Ring the Bell: Salvation Army hopes for record year

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

From Black Friday until the Christmas Eve rush, they are the first people shoppers see at many department stores and the last people they see on their dash back to their cars.

They are bell ringers, and the Christmas season would not be complete without the sound of their clangs of cheer.

This year Salvation Army hopes to raise $85,000 through the red kettle donations, a $20,000 increase over last year’s donations.

“Forty percent of it was through volunteers,” Salvation Army Captain Jan Zuniga

 Said. “We will have kettles out at 11 locations from Black Friday on Nov. 29 through Christmas Eve.”

This year, with Thanksgiving arriving later than usual, it also shortens the time the bell ringers will be out by a week.

“This year, we have a new way to register which will make it easier for groups to coordinate with their volunteers,” Zuniga said. 

A visit to registertoring.com allows where one would like to volunteer, what day, and times. If a group wishes to coordinate times, each person can select the time they are available, making it easier to plan.

“For those who sign up as a group, they are given a code to the day so others can see which shifts are still available,” Zuniga said. 

Zuniga said the event is growing in volunteers every year and the new registration website allows for shorter shifts.

“Weekdays are key to us,” Zuniga added. “This year we are rolling out a matching partnership program.”

For companies who would like to help, but cannot volunteer, it can match dollar to dollar every kettle in the county for a day.

“There will be a sign at each location with the company’s name and saying it is matching dollar to dollar the funds raises in donations that day,” Zuniga said.

On a weekday, all 11 kettles throughout the county average $1,500 total. 

The donations from the kettles are what allows the organization to help make Christmas possible for the over 300 children registered for assistance this year.

“It has an impact on the budget and programs through the Spring,” Zuniga said. “It is not just toys and food for Christmas, but for seniors, and part of the regular budget to help into next year.”

There are still plenty of time slots available for those who would like to give back by ringing the bell this year.