Jerry Jones past volunteer. Submitted photo

You know it’s the Christmas season when you see volunteers with red kettles outside of local retailers ringing the bell for The Salvation Army.   From now until Christmas Eve, these friendly faces will be at Walmart, Smith’s, Walgreens, Ace Hardware and Lee’s Liquor.  Shoppers of all ages enjoy dropping some money into the kettle.  Whether it’s coins or bills, every little bit helps.  “You might not be able to write a check to the Salvation Army for $200,” said Jerry Jones, local resident and Salvation Army bell ringer.  “But if you will ring the bell for an hour or two you can collect that much for them.”

Stephanie and Bill Woolley. Submitted photo

“Our volunteers tell us that they really enjoy ringing the bell,” said Stephanie Woolley, Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army.  “It helps them get into the holiday spirit, it connects them with the community, and it’s fun!  But most importantly, they know that they are doing something that will benefit those in need.”  The Salvation Army has been using the Christmas kettles to raise money for over 125 years.  In 1891, Salvation Army officer Captain Joseph McFee wanted to provide a Christmas dinner for the poor in San Francisco, but didn’t have the money.  He remembered seeing a donation kettle in Liverpool, England called “Simpson’s Pot.”  The next day McFee asked the city for permission and set up a crab kettle in from of the Oakland ferry landing.  He raised the money for the dinner and the tradition was started.  “If there is any way that you can sign up for a couple of hours, we would really appreciate it,” said Bill Woolley, volunteer kettle coordinator.  “We could really use your help!”  If you would like to sign up to be a volunteer bell ringer call 702-345-5116 or 702-816-6919 or stop by the Salvation Army office at 355 W. Mesquite Blvd. in the Brickyard Plaza.