(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The “miracle” of Christmas is repeated through the joy of caring and sharing. The San Bernardino Salvation Army (www.salvationarmyusa.org) seek volunteers to Keep The Bells Ringing in Bloomington, Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Rialto, and San Bernardino.
The nationally recognized shiny red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season.
“This is a wonderful way to help disadvantaged people in our community, simply by volunteering as bell ringers,” said Major Daniel Henderson, commander of The Salvation Army of San Bernardino. “We’re looking for individuals, families and groups to spend a day at one of our more than 30 locations in our area.”
The Salvation Army began ringing its bells this year on Friday, Nov. 18 and continues from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve.
Many volunteers ring two hours at a time, but groups are asked to provide ringers who can work in shifts for an entire day. Anyone who would like to donate a few hours of his or her time can volunteer. Individuals under the age of 16 must be accompanied a parent or guardian.
“The more people who volunteer, the fewer people the agency must hire,” said Major Henderson. “Each volunteer who Keeps the Bells Ringing saves us $10 an hour. That means more money raised in direct support of our services goes to families in need.”
Where does the money raised by the ringing bells in San Bernardino go? The Salvation Army provides emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) assists rescue workers and evacuees in disasters such as fires and earthquakes.
For Christmas, the Salvation Army creates holiday food baskets for about 500 local families. On Christmas Eve, The Salvation Army of San Bernardino hosts a Christmas Dinner that historically provides a delicious meal to approximatly 300 people. Donations raised by volunteers who Keep The Bells Ringing help make this possible.
The Corp has other need for your finial and food donations. “The San Bernardino Corps needs food every day for those at its Hospitality House and Transitional Living Center,” said Integrated Mission Coordinator Lieutenant Cathie McCulley. Up to 100 family members stay in its transitional and emergency family shelters.
Up to 300 people who receive a free dinner served Sunday through Friday at 4:45 p.m. at The Transitional Living Center, 925 West 10th Street in San Bernardino. Your donations are needed to keep this program going.
To volunteer to Keep The Bells Ringing, call The Salvation Army at (909) 888-1336.
To donate to The Salvation Army online, go to: www.salvationarmyusa.org. To donate by phone call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (800-725-2769).
Donors may drop off turkeys, other food, cash or gift cards at the Salvation Army’s Corps Office at 2626 Pacific St., in San Bernardino, CA 92346, phone (909) 888-1336.
How the Bell Ringer campaign began:
Captain Joseph McFee, serving with the San Francisco Salvation Army Corps in 1891, wanted to serve Christmas dinner to the poor in his neighborhood. But he didn’t have money to do so.
As a sailor in Liverpool, England, Captain Mcfee saw 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.
Captain Mcfee 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 San Bernardino Corps
The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, and offers holistic programs for individuals of all. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has served San Bernardino and the Inland Empire since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. The San Bernardino Corps of The Salvation Army serves Bloomington, Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Rialto, and San Bernardino.
Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY. Our local service number is (909) 888-1336.