It's Beginning To Sound A Lot Like Christmas Salvation Army Bells Begin to Ring in San BernardinoStory and Photography by Ricardo Tomboc
On Friday November 21, the Salvation Army Corps of San Bernardino began its “Red Kettle” Bell Ringing Campaign.
Twenty-four bell ringers were deployed throughout the various San Bernardino retail stores.
The tradition of the Salvation Army “Kettle” during the Christmas Holidays started in 1891 in San Francisco, by Captain Joseph McFee, in an effort to collect enough money to provide a free Christmas dinner to the poor. Now the tradition has spread worldwide.
During the Christmas season, the sounds of the ringing bell have been recorded into the musical and film history. In the song “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson, was made famous by Perry Como, The Fontane Sisters, Bing Crosby, and many more.
The last chorus of the song says, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, soon the bells will start, and the thing that will make them ring, is the carol that you sing”. In another song, “Silver Bells” makes reference to the “silver bells in the City”. There are many film and TV shows that portray the Salvation Army Bell Ringers in the backgrounds when depicting a Christmas scene.
On this first day of bell ringing, there are see two volunteers at the Walmart shopping center on Highland Avenue.
Steve Pinckney and Bill Sassa have volunteered their time ringing the bell as part of their ministry work with the Salvation Army Corps. Both Steve and Bill are graduates of the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center and are participants in the Salvation Army Corps’s Path-To-Prosperity program.
At the Food-for-Less market on Highland Avenue, Gloria Reyes is ringing the bell by her kettle. Gloria is a single mom of four girls and would normally be volunteering her time at the Salvation Army Corps in San Bernardino. However, this year Gloria wanted to earn some extra Christmas money for her girls by ringing the bell.
At one time Gloria lived at the Salvation Army Corps shelter for about four months, until she was financially stable enough to find her own place. Gloria was posing for a photograph when eight-year-old Jaylene Reyes of San Bernardino steps up to the kettle and drops in a donation.
At the 40th Street Stater Bros. market, Joyce Fierri another Salvation Army bell ringer stands by her kettle. Joyce attends the Salvation Army Corps Church. While taking Joyce’s photograph, Mr. Andrew Williams steps up to the kettle to make his donation. Andrew is a long time supporter of the Salvation Army.
Andrew is also an employee of Stater Bros. market at a different store location. The next donation in Joyce’s kettle came from a homeless man by the name of “Josh”. As Josh walked up to kettle and dropped in a few coins, and apologizes to Joyce for his small contribution, and he wished it could be much more.
Donations collected during the Christmas kettle campaign in San Bernardino are used to provide food baskets and other essential during the Christmas season.
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