Salvation Army bell ringers are out in force this year and hoping to again raise $20,000.
“Wellington people are wonderful about giving and we always make enough,” said Joyce Scott, human services worker for the Salvation Army’s Wellington Service Unit. “It’s always fantastic.”
And that’s good news for Wellington folks since all the money collected from the kettles stays in the community. The money helps people with rent and utility shut-offs, Scott said.
In 2014, ringers raised a record $20,000, which helped 190 families and a total of 656 people.
Bell ringers have been out since the Saturday before Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will continue through Dec. 31 at Farm & Home Hardware, Geyer’s Market, Village Market, and Discount Drug Mart.
In all, 230 bell ringers have signed up to cover the 994 hours of time; 20 organizations are represented on the bell ringing front.
“We keep all the money locally and that’s really important,” said Bridget Derrick, who schedules all the ringers. “Scheduling people is sometimes a difficult task, but this year’s weather is so much nicer that it helps.”
Bell ringers can be any age and include school groups, local organizations, and individuals.
Some families go out and ring the bells. Some ringers play music while others prefer to be a purist and just ring the bell.
“I enjoy doing it,” said volunteer Dan Lemons. “It gives me something to do, gets me out of my apartment, and I meet a lot of people.”
“A good bell ringer likes to interact with the public,” Derrick said. “They have a friendly attitude, a smile. Some give candy canes, some will sing and bring guitars and that always puts people in a positive mood. Children seem to be the most successful for how enthused they are.”
That was true for Lilah Campbell, age seven, and sister Stella, five, of Wellington, recent bell ringers outside Village Market.
“We wanted to help out,” explained Lilah, who was wearing a set of antlers. “And it’s pretty fun because we get to ring bells and we get to wear special hats.” They had a steady stream of donaters during their shift with their mother, Holly.
Derrick said any age can participate “as long as they are dressed for the weather and can wish people a Merry Christmas.” Those interested in still ringing the bell can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derrick said people love to donate to the Salvation Army kettles because it makes them feel good.
“I had a $100 bill in my kettle this year,” said Derrick, who also volunteers. “I don’t know who is more important – the bell ringers or the people who donate. We always need bell ringers but some people don’t have the time, or the ability to ring the bell and giving at the kettle is important, too.”
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.
Catherine Gabe | Wellington Enterprise
Salvation Army kettle donations are brisk, especially when youngsters like Lilah and Stella Campbell strut their cuteness.