Local News

Salvation Army ringing bells ... and the alarm

Posted November 25, 2008 6:26 a.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2008 2:56 p.m. EST

— The sound of ringing bells is synonymous with the Salvation Army. Beginning Tuesday, the organization is also sounding an alarm.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker tossed a ceremonial coin into the kettle at noon for the kickoff kettle drive. This season, the need is so great that the kettles can’t wait, Salvation Army officials said.

“The sound of a bell lasts two seconds, but we have 12 months of the year that we provide services,” said spokeswoman Paige Bagwell. “So the bell ringing that only happens at Christmas literally has to last us 12 months a year.”

Right when the need is highest, donations are down, officials said. Demand for the organization’s help is up 30 to 35 percent this year. Donations are down 10 percent, officials said.

The Salvation Army has not cut services, but officials said they are afraid it might come to that.

Bell-ringer Tom Brooks said he has seen many different kinds of people stop by his kettle to donate in the past. He’s hoping to see more this year, he said.

“Over the years, I’ve had so many former people who’ve been helped come by and tell us, ‘I was the one who was the recipient, and I’m doing good now. And I’m bringing some money in, and I’m going to donate to the Salvation Army,’” Brooks said.