“It is a tradition that was started to draw attention to the kettle,” he said. “It has also become a reminder to the public that the Salvation Army is on the job.”
Bell ringers from many different walks of life sign up each year to collect donations at the Franklin Street location.
In Chapel Hill, volunteers also work outside the Harris Teeter locations at Chapel Hill North, University Mall and Meadowmont Village.
Robin Bruckschen, the Durham Corps’ volunteer coordinator, said volunteers get involved through student groups, churches, civic groups and rotary clubs.
Pattie Canupp has volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army for five years in a row through her church.
Canupp said she usually brings her whole family along.
“It doesn’t cost anything but time, and it is good for the kids to realize that just because you have toys under the tree doesn’t mean all children do,” she said.
Canupp said she also donates to the kettle when she can.
“We take so much for granted, and it is good to know the money will be sent to somebody in need,” she said.
Smith said the Durham Corps has about eight to 10 volunteers a week, though the organization could use more help manning the bell and bucket.
“The need for donations feels more acute during a special time like the Christmas season,” Smith said. “Volunteering provides a chance to contribute and be a help to people.”
Those wishing to donate can also make a contribution online through the Online Red Kettle, at www.onlineredkettle.org.
“It’s Christmastime everyday at the Salvation Army,” Smith said.
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