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Salvation Army in need of bell ringers

The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg is searching for bell ringer volunteers earlier this year for their Red Kettle Campaign.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — They are sights and sounds that go hand and hand with the holiday — the iconic red kettle and a smiling person ringing a bell. But this year, The Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg is struggling to find bell ringers.

Maj. John Wheeler says that's why the nonprofit is starting its search earlier.

"Our regular volunteers are older people that are concerned about getting COVID because of age-related health concerns, so they're not volunteering as much as they might have, so we need to replace some of those hours," Maj. Wheeler said.

Nearly 21 businesses in the county will feature a red kettle stand.

Wheeler says while it's important to have someone manning the kettle, it's just as important to donate, and there are plenty of ways you can.

"We do have what we call counter kettles which are for smaller businesses. We'd love to get counter kettles out in businesses," Maj. Wheeler said. "There are codes on our signs on the physical kettle stand where if you don't have the cash you can give with your smartphone, you can give to a virtual kettle."

Donations raised from the Red Kettle Campaign go right back into the community, helping with a variety of programs, like stocking their food pantry and soup kitchen meals.

"The food warehouse is seeing a lot more people come through," Wheeler said. "People that we've never seen before on top of all the regulars that are coming, and our food costs have gone up as well. So, it costs that much more to help that many more people. So we really need the help this year."

Wheeler says without volunteers, they can't put out as many kettles, which means less money to help those in need. He adds that volunteering is a rewarding feeling.

"It's fun to be out there watching people, talking to people. I love it when the little kids come and put money in the kettle, and then I get to hear the parent explain why there putting money in."

The Pocono Mountains Red Kettle Campaign kicks off on November 17 and runs until Christmas Eve.

To learn more about becoming a bell ringer, click here.

If you're interested in becoming a bell ringer volunteer or would like to host a Red Kettle Stand/Countertop Kettle, you can reach out to Jason Lesh, Events and Development Manager, (570) 421-2040, extension 119  jason.lesh@use.salvationarmy.org

You can also donate virtually to the Red Kettle Campaign here. 

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