Salvation Army kettle a familiar sight on Franklin Street

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Retiree John Sehon (left) and Duke chemist Philip Hughes volunteer as Salvation Army bell ringers on Franklin Street on Tuesday.

As the holiday season approaches, a familiar sight and sound have returned to Franklin Street.

With the well-known red kettle, red apron and jingling hand-bell in tow, Salvation Army volunteers have started asking for donations for the organization’s Christmas charity fund.

Money placed in the kettle, which is located outside the Bank of America building at 144 E. Franklin St., goes toward providing toys, clothes and food to those in need during the holiday season, said Bruce Smith, a major of the Salvation Army’s Durham Corps, which serves Durham, Orange and Person Counties.

Smith said the money also goes toward helping families pay utility bills and rent.

The bell ringing accompanying the kettle began more than 100 years ago, Smith said.

“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.

Contact the desk editor at

city@dailytarheel.com.

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