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Originally published: 2013-12-07 15:03:27
Last modified: 2013-12-07 15:04:12

Our View: Bells are ringing loud and clear

Bells will be ringing -- indeed, they've already begun in earnest -- and they won't stop until Christmas Eve. After all, the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign is the largest annual effort of the Christian organization that assists victims of disasters and those in need.

Red kettles and bell ringers have been in place throughout Watauga County since Nov. 22 -- a charity mission that operates every day except Sunday -- with an annual combined goal this year for Watauga and Avery counties of $45,000.

That's a lot of money that will happen only through a lot of bell ringing -- and that's a concern of the local chapter. Even at this late date, bell ringers are needed to man kettles between now and the end of the campaign, Dec. 24.

The Red Kettle efforts rely largely on a volunteer force to solicit donations by doing a job that often calls for braving cold temperatures and evening hours. Those volunteers work at both indoor and outdoor locations, and generally between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Not everyone is willing to make that type of commitment, but to the Salvation Army -- and those who rely on its services -- it's a vital effort that in 2012 collected more than $350,000 for the Greater Hickory/High Country Command.

The Salvation Army appreciates our donations -- it's the change in our pockets that fuels the work it does. But the next time you drop that change in the kettle, take a minute to talk to the bell ringer. Ask why they are doing what they do.

If you like the answer, call Salvation Army Lt. Michal Chapman at (828) 262-1005 to find out how you can make bells ring for those in need during Christmastime.