El Paso Salvation Army faces bell ringer shortage
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The bells are back.
The Salvation Army is once again out in front of area stores, raising money for families in need. But the "Red Kettle Christmas Campaign" is facing a big challenge this year - a shortage of bell ringers.
The Salvation Army in El Paso says they've seen an increase in people needing help this year compared to previous years, but a decrease in donations from the public.
They're short almost a dozen volunteer bell ringers each weekend and are asking for the public's help.
"The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign" provides food, toys, and clothing to millions of people in need during the holiday season.
Bell ringers man the kettles outside grocery stores and shopping plazas, wishing people a 'Merry Christmas' as they collect donations.
As of December 5th, the El Paso Salvation Army raised $108,000 in kettle donations, compared to $113,000 during the same time last year.
The Salvation Army encourages people to volunteer and make it a family affair, and get the kids involved too.
"Teach them the meaning of giving back, and to teach them that maybe not everybody lives like the way that some of us do. And that they have to maybe spend Christmas in a shelter this year, and then they can really see the true meaning of Christmas," said Lt. Paul Ryerson, a Corps Officer with the El Paso Salvation Army.
Lt. Ryerson says they've got 70 Red Kettle locations across town and more paid staff bell ringers on duty rather than volunteers, which takes away from much-needed funds for Salvation Army programs.
If you'd like to volunteer as a bell ringer for The Salvation Army this Christmas season, you can call 915-755-4168.