WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — The Salvation Army bell ringers are a holiday staple outside of stores and shopping malls leading up to Christmas, but in Washington, they are having a shortage of volunteers.
“I love volunteering, basically anything for the kids is something great, especially at Christmas, which is my favorite time of year,” said Elizabeth Harding, one of about 20 volunteer ringers for the Salvation Army in Washington.
But the shortage of volunteers is causing problems.
“We need more volunteers to come out and ring the bell for us,” said Harding.
The majority of bell ringers are paid, unless otherwise indicated on their apron.
Salvation Army Captain Bruce Raybon said paying bell ringers takes away from money that could be going to donations.
“Everything that goes into the kettle goes to the community, and so when we actually have to pay a bell ringer, that comes out of what goes back into our community,” Raybon said.
They have only raised $16,000 this season, and they say they need a total of 100 volunteers to be able to reach their $60,000 goal by December 23.
“A lot of kids wouldn’t receive Christmas if it wasn’t for the donations,” Raybon said.
For some, giving time is worth the return.
“It is a great thing to come and ring the bell because it not only helps the community, it helps you and you never know when you may be in that time of need,” Harding said.
Raybon added they are even short of paid bell ringers this year due to applicants not passing their background checks and people not showing up to their shifts.
If you would like to volunteer, call 252-946-2523.