Ringing the bell

Alvin Lee Green rings his bell and laughs with Joan Potter as she makes a donation on Tuesday afternoon in front of the Walmart Supercenter on Highland Drive in Jonesboro.

JONESBORO — It’s that time of year again. Bells are ringing all over town as bell ringers face the cold weather to spread Christmas cheer.

Dominique Sanders, a paid Salvation Army bell ringer, said she has been ringing her bell for 14 years and loves it. She said on Monday that she works every year for the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army has many paid bell ringers; however, the organization is in desperate need of volunteers to ring bells, too.

Capt. Charles Smith, commanding officer at the Salvation Army Jonesboro branch, said on Monday that the local branch will not be doing anything special for Thanksgiving this year.

“We didn’t plan anything special for Thanksgiving,” Smith said, “because we are just too short on volunteers this year and with the First United Methodist’s big community meal at St. Bernards already underway for Thanksgiving, we felt that we had to focus more towards Christmas this year due to that lack of volunteers. We really appreciate our paid bell ringers, but that is all we have so far this year.”

The Salvation Army has to focus on the unmet needs of the community, Smith said, Thanksgiving seems like it will be met.

The Salvation Army serves two meals a day, 365 days a year for anyone in the community. Plus showers, toilets, washing machines and dryers are available for the homeless and needy as well, along with toiletries and washing powder.

“So without volunteers this year it has been really hard because we have ‘Angel Tree’ and other projects underway, too,” he said.

Bell ringers have a long history. In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken in San Fransisco during the holiday season. So, McFee placed a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

If you would like to volunteer you can go to RegisterToRing.com or email Smith at Teri.Smith@ uss.salvationarmy.org.