RING THE BELL: Salvation Army begins Christmas campaign

Published 11:37 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

The Pike County Salvation Army will officially begin its Red Kettle campaign at 9 a.m. Friday.

The ringing of the Salvation Army’s bells has been a Christmas tradition since the late 1800s and is the local Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser.

“The people in Pike County have always been very generous in their giving and it is so appreciated,” said Kim May, director of the Salvation Army Service Center in Troy. “Last year, people were very supportive of our kettle campaign. We raise $47,000. This year our goal is $50,000. The needs of the Salvation Army are extremely great, given the natural disasters that have occurred.”

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Salvation Army bell ringers will be at Walmart, Piggly Wiggly 231, Grocery Advantage and Walgreen’s in Troy and also at the Piggly Wiggly in Brundidge.

However, the number of locations where bells will be rung depends on the availability of bell ringers.

“Most everyone who rings the bell for the Salvation Army says they receive a blessing,” May said. “Being a bell ringer is a way to do for others at Christmastime and, at the same time, be blessed.”

The bells are rung from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through Christmas Eve. The ringer’s schedule is set up in two-hour blocks.

“The Brundidge Rotary Club rings the bell on weekends in Brundidge but we need bell ringers for the four Troy locations. The more times the bells are rung, the more we can do for our friends and neighbors in need.”

Bell ringers must be 18 years or older unless accompanied by an adult.

“But we want the kids to ring,” May said. “It’s an opportunity for them to learn about the blessings of giving back. Some families ring together and some youth groups are bell ringers. Clubs, businesses and organizations often take a day. When they do, they set up their own schedules.

The Charles Henderson High School JROTC volunteers to take a day.

“They cover three or four locations and that is a tremendous help to us,” May said.

“Steve and Tamara Stephens are the Pike County Salvation Army kettle coordinators and they will appreciate hearing from those who are interested in being bell ringers.”

The Stephens’ number is 334-221-2011. Other numbers to call are 808-1069, 672-4481 and 268-2553.

May said the Salvation Army is always ready to respond to any disaster. The morning after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle, the Salvation Army had vehicles on the road with supplies and personnel. Among them were teams from the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.

The effects of the storm are still visible and Salvation Army teams are still on the ground.

The Salvation Army had provided 695,229 meals, 357,585 drinks and 471,511 snacks to those involved.

May said the Salvation Army is dedicated to responding to disaster situations as well as the needs of those right here at home.