Help a Neighbor – Volunteer to Ring A Silver Bell
Shaila, Shiane, Carl and Malaika Dameron ringing the bell for The Salvation Army.
(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) –The Salvation Army has started its Christmas tradition of ringing silver bells by shiny red kettles, so that passersby have a trustworthy opportunity to help those less fortunate.
“The Red Kettle fund raiser is our biggest fund raiser of the year,” said Capt. Nancy Ball, co-director of The Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps. “We use the funds received to support our programs year-round to provide food, shelter and youth programs to our community.
The Salvation Army will continue ringing bells, Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve. It seeks volunteer bell-ringers so that it can staff even more locations, more of the time.
For the past several years, Salvation Army of San Bernardino board member, and Dameron Communications founder and creative director, Carl Dameron volunteered with his wife Malaika and two daughters, Shaila and Shiane. The entire Salvation Army of San Bernardino board also volunteered their time to ring silver bells and ask the community for help.
“We receive great satisfaction knowing we had made a difference in our community,” Carl Dameron said. “We also enjoyed spending the time together as a family and teaching our children about the responsibility we have to care for those in our community who are less fortunate.”
Capt. Ball encourages families, groups of friends, community organizations, churches and Sunday school classes to sign up as a “Bell Ringer for A Day.” The Salvation Army especially seeks groups large enough to work in shifts throughout am eight-hour day, but also welcomes individuals, families and other small groups who could donate a few hours of their time.
“Groups will be especially effective if they bring guitars and/or other musical instruments and sing Christmas carols,” she said. “The Salvation Army has long appreciated the role music plays in putting people into the holiday spirit.”
Each Thanksgiving, Christmas and in some cases Easter, Inland Empire Salvation Army Corps combine to serve more than 1,000 people holiday meals. But, some of these local corps, including San Bernardino serve almost as many meals on a daily basis to those who are homeless and hungry. Some corps also maintain a food pantry for those who most need help with the cost of groceries.
Feeding the hungry is just one of the ways money donated to The Salvation Army helps. Salvation Army Corps offers lodging for homeless or evicted families; clothing and furniture for burnout victims, those evicted and the homeless; prescriptions; and assistance with rent/mortgage, utilities and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in disasters such as fires.
In San Bernardino, The Hospitality House provides temporary emergency shelter and support in rebuilding the lives of thousands of homeless families. This shelter will be moving to a new, larger location in 2010.
To volunteer as a bellringer in San Bernardino, Colton, Rialto, Grand Terrace, Bloomington or Highland, call (909) 888-1336.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Redlands and other East San Bernardino Valley communities call (909) 792-6868.
To volunteer as a bellringer in San Bernardino County’s High Desert, call (760) 245-5745 and ask for Margot Barhas.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Ontario and other West San Bernardino Valley communities, call Envoy Abel Tamez at (909) 509-2503 or Envoy Naomi Tamez at (909) 509-2741.
To volunteer as a bellringer in the Desert Hot Springs/Coachella Valley areas, contact the Cathedral City Corps at (760) 324-2275.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Hemet, San Jacinto, Idyllwild and surrounding areas contact the Hemet Corps at (951) 925-7176.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Moreno Valley, Perris and surrounding areas, call the Moreno Valley Corps at (951) 653-9131.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Murrieta, Temecula, Canyon Lake, Menifee and surrounding areas, call the Murrieta Corps at (951) 677-1324.
To volunteer as a bellringer in Riverside, Corona, Norco and surrounding areas, call the Riverside Corps at (951) 784-4490.
In addition, one may donate to The Salvation Army online, through the website www.salvationarmyusa.org. Donors may specify to which branch of The Salvation Army the money should be sent.
How the Bell Ringer campaign began:
Capt. Joseph McFee, serving with the San Francisco Salvation Army Corps back in 1891, wanted to serve Christmas dinner to the poor in his neighborhood. But he didn’t have money to do so.
Mc Fee remembered as a sailor in Liverpool, England, seeing people on the docks throw money into a large kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” to help the poor. He decided this might work in California, too.
He set up a kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing, which operated a ferry that was, in those days, the only way across San Francisco Bay. He put a sign on the kettle saying, “Keep the Pot Boiling” and raised enough money to serve the Christmas dinner.
His idea spread quickly, and by 1897 Salvation Army Corps nationwide were collecting money in kettles to serve the needy in their communities. Among The Salvation Army Corps collecting money this way before the turn of the 20th Century was The Salvation Army of San Bernardino, which formed in 1887.
About The Salvation Army
Emergency services include: food, lodging for homeless or evicted families; clothing and furniture for burnout victims, evicted and the homeless; prescriptions, assistance with rent/mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in disasters such as fires.
The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations can always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
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