Salvation Army only has three ringers, needs more

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NATCHEZ — Braving the bitter cold, with bell in hand and a smile on their face, Salvation Army bell ringers are a mainstay for the Christmas season.

But a lack of committed bell ringers, has local Salvation Army officials in a bit of a rush.

The annual fundraising campaign kicks off Friday, but, as of Monday, there were only three workers signed up to ring the bells.

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The money raised funds the social services offered by the Salvation Army. Those services include utility assistance, food and clothing distribution and providing emergency shelter.

Service Center Manager for the Natchez Salvation Army, Janet Trahern said a successful fundraising drive is vital in providing these services.

“This is the big one as far as fundraising goes,” she said.

Workers are needed for the nine Miss-Lou locations that will have red collection kettles available. Kettles will be set up at Natchez Markets Nos. 1 and 2, Vidalia Markets, Southside Market, K-Mart, Walmart in Natchez and Vidalia and the Natchez Mall.

Collection begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. each day. Workers can work one of two available shifts or sign on for the entire day.

Trahern said that while volunteers or volunteer groups are ideal, some workers will be hired and paid minimum wage.

Paid workers must be 18 years old.

“Volunteers are great,” she said. “That way more of the money we raise will go toward social services for next year.”

Typically civic groups and school groups will volunteer their time, but Trahern said that hasn’t happened yet this year.

“When groups do volunteer that is great because they can usually work a full day,” she said.

Children and youth groups have traditionally been big helpers for the fundraising drive. Trahern said those groups are always welcome with adult supervision.

She said the lack of organizations, causes scheduling difficulty for the Salvation Army.

“A majority of our volunteers are individuals who sign up to work one particular shift on one particular day,” Trahern said. “That leaves a lot of slots to be filled.”

Any group or individuals wishing to assist should contact Trahern at 601-442-0217 or 601-442-1867.