Bell ringers still needed for Salvation Army

MARSHALL CO. — The local Salvation Army group is still working toward its goal of raising $12,000 in its holiday kettle drive.
Local Salvation Army representative Jim Irwin said he was inspired by the tale of LaPorte County pastor Billy Nickrand, who recently rang a Salvation Army bell at a store for 60 hours straight.
“I said to somebody, I’d just like to get volunteers to ring 60 hours for us, not even 60 hours straight,” said Irwin, who is the Salvation Army service extension representative for Marshall County.
He’s looking for volunteers in the county to do at least a two-hour shift bell ringing.
“We usually find volunteers just by word of mouth,” said Irwin. “This is the first time we’ve really issued a challenge to the community.”
The challenge is to get at least 60 hours of bell ringing in during the last two weekends before Christmas.
In Plymouth, bell ringers have been present at Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Kmart since Black Friday. But Irwin stressed that volunteers are needed in all communities in the county.
“We are doing this county-wide, give us a call and we will get you the information,” said Irwin.
There’s no real requirements to be a bell ringer, but Irwin said children should be accompanied by their parents.
“We just ask that (volunteers) put on one of our aprons and be smiley-faced,” said Irwin. “We prefer at least two hour shifts — we realize any longer than that is pretty tough to do.”
So far this year, about $3,500 has been raised. Irwin said that’s about the same amount that was raised by this time last year.
“Last year was a down year for us,” said Irwin. “If we continue at this pace we will survive, but if we get a good turnout with this challenge it could get us back to where we were a few years ago.”
Irwin, who has been involved in Salvation Army holiday bell ringing since 2005, said the campaign will continue no matter what, but he hopes to find some new volunteers this year.
Individuals, groups, or businesses interested in volunteering should contact Irwin at 574-952-8712. In Argos, contact Karen Alderfer at 574-780-4276. In Walkerton, contact Kim Hosteler at 574-540-3790. In Bremen, contact Marie Hartsell at 574-546-2245. In Culver, contact Jerry Greeson at 574-842-4260.