Salvation Army short on bell ringers for annual red kettle campaign

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 7:11 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As we begin the holiday season, the Salvation Army says it needs red kettle bell ringers to help meet the growing need throughout the state.

It’s a sound that marks the beginning of the holiday season, but this year you may not hear it as often. That’s because the Salvation Army says they’re battling a bell ringer shortage.

“The challenge right now with the shortage of bell ringers is that we’re not able to meet our goal,” said Lt. Caitlin Lyle of the Salvation Army of Greater Burlington.

Lyle says their goal locally is to raise $50,000. The statewide goal is $170,000.

Right now, there are two volunteers, three volunteer groups and seven employees covering 15 locations throughout Chittenden County. Charles Bloom is one of them.

“Almost everybody that I’ve ever met has had moments of difficulty, they can’t really find their way out of where they’re at. And the same thing happened to me on a couple of occasions. So you know, I feel like I am returning the help that I myself received,” Bloom said.

Lyle says the money raised through the red kettle campaign helps the Salvation Army provide services such as rental and utility assistance, and dinner programs.

“Eighty-five cents of every dollar that is put into the kettle goes right back into the community. We serve so many people on a daily and weekly basis, and that money goes right back into those services so that we can serve our community better,” Lyle said.

To combat the shortage of volunteers, the Salvation Army is also accepting online donations this year. But Bloom says ringing the bell and meeting with those in the community is a rewarding experience.

“It takes some effort and some resilience. I guess for the right kind of person, it’s a really worthwhile kind of thing to do,” he said.

The Christmas kettle campaign runs from now until Christmas Eve.

To date, the Salvation Army of Greater Burlington says they’ve raised just shy of $4,000.