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Ringing for a reason

Roger Bakewell is pictured ringing the bell at a Salvation Army kettle in Alexandria during a past holiday season. Ringers are needed to man the bells at several locations this year. (Contributed)

By Haley Seward

As the holiday season quickly approaches, most people begin their search for the perfect present. For some, the greatest gift is simple: food on their table, clothes in their closet, and a few toys for their children.

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The Salvation Army has been helping families through the holiday season for years. They help to provide food, clothing, necessities and toys to families in need. One method of raising these funds is through the Red Kettle Program.

The Red Kettle Program consists of volunteers being stationed around a town or county. They are equipped with a red kettle for collecting donations, and a bell to ring.

The Salvation Army will have volunteers ringing bells around Alexandria every day from November 22 through Christmas Eve, except on Sundays.

There are several locations throughout Alexandria that participate in the Red Kettle Program including K-Mart, Elden’s Fresh Foods, Pete’s County Market and the Viking Plaza.

Volunteers begin ringing at 10 a.m. They are able to schedule the time and length of their shift to fit their schedule. Shifts usually last a couple of hours.

Organizers are looking for volunteers of any age. They only ask that volunteers are engaged in what they are doing.

According to Art Berg, donations are encouraged from all ages as well. Berg was the person who had the idea to lower one of the donation buckets so that kids can reach it. He said, “If you can get young kids started, they can keep it going.”

Berg has been the head of the bell ringers at the Viking Plaza for the past six years and was a bell ringer before that. “We get a lot of volunteers, but we need more,” he said before adding, “We never run out of time for anybody.”

The money that is raised by the ringers will help local families. All of the funds will stay within Douglas County.

According to Berg, being a bell ringer is a great way to help the community while socializing with lots of people. “I enjoy ringing because I meet a lot of people. It’s nice to run into people again too,” he said.

The holiday season is often chaotic, but taking a couple hours to ring bells for a good cause can put things into perspective.

Volunteers can contact their desired location to sign up:

Viking Plaza – (320) 763-5089

K-Mart – (320) 304-9232

Walmart – (320) 460-0866

Elden’s Fresh Foods and

Pete’s County Market –

(320) 760-4262