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Salvation Army Needs Volunteer Bell Ringers

<P>The holiday shopping season hasn't officially started yet, but a familiar sound during that time is already ringing out around Wichita Falls.</P> <P>On Friday, Salvation Army bell ringers started chiming up donations but officials with the local non-profit organization are looking to make a big change to the kettle campaign.</P> <P>However, they say doing the most good through that popular program won't happen without your help.</P>

This sound and this red kettle have inspired giving for decades.

"When bell ringing started back over 100 years ago, bell ringing was 100% volunteers standing at the kettle, ringing the bell on behalf of the Salvation Army wishing people Merry Christmas and thanking them for the donations they were given," says Capt. Gregory Shannon, commander of the local Salvation Army.

But over the years a drastic drop in volunteers has forced the Salvation Army to turn to hired help, which cuts into profits.

"It runs about 35 to 40% of the income from just the kettles goes to salaries so we'd like to change that to where we can be 100% volunteers," explains Capt. Shannon.

But that change is dependent on the kindness of the community.

"If it is someone under the age of 18, they must have an adult with them however, we're looking for anybody. We're only looking for two hour increments. They can do more than two. They can do four hours, six hours or eight hours but a minimum of two is what we're really looking for," Capt. Shannon says.

That way all donations put in here will go toward services here and allow the Salvation Army to help the increasing number people in need.

To become a volunteer bell ringer just call the Salvation Army weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The number is (940) 322-9822.

Coordinators say ask for Sandra or Captain Shannon and they will get you signed up.

Right now, the kettle campaign is at five Wichita Falls businesses but on Friday, that number will jump to 22.

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