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Red Kettle drive needs additional bell ringers

Volunteers usually ring the bell collecting money for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive. However, the charity will dig into its own pockets this holiday season to hire bell ringers to help meet the growing need.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The down economy has left more people in need of help. As a result, the Salvation Army of Wake County will triple the number of locations for its annual Red Kettle drive this year.

"Christmas is our bread and butter. People don't realize that what we raise at Christmas is what helps us continue our services year round,” Salvation Army of Wake County spokeswoman Paige Bagwell said.

While demand for services went up 25 percent, donations collected during last year's kettle drive were down 20 percent, Bagwell said.

Reginald Scott has a job, but is staying at a shelter. He said thanks to the Salvation Army and others he will soon have his own place to call home.

"It makes me feel wonderful. I've always been the type of person that I like to do for myself, provide for myself,” Scott said.

To help others like Scott, the Salvation Army will set up kettles at 39 additional locations this holiday season. But unlike year's past, some bell ringers will get paid.

"If we have a location that only a volunteer can do the first five hours and we have the rest of the day to cover, we are willing to staff someone, so we can get the income, as well as give someone a part-time position during the holiday season,” Bagwell said.

The Salvation Army is also requiring volunteers to ring a bell for a minimum of five hours at a time this year. The time can be divided between a group, however.

To learn more about volunteering for the kettle drive, call 919-834-6733.


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