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Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army in need of committed volunteers for Red Kettle help

The Salvation Army is working hard to find volunteer bell ringers to help with their Christmas fundraising campaign, which seeks to raise at least $155,000 in the Brainerd Lakes area this season.


Not enough bells are ringing in the Brainerd lakes area.

The Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army is in need of volunteers to ring the bell at its red kettles this holiday season in pursuit of raising at least $155,000.

With a few weeks to go, Capt. Jeff Curran, Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army Corps officer, said they are encouraging people to sign up before the season's over.

“From a financial perspective, I think people are very generous in what they are putting in kettles,” Curran said. “But we are having trouble getting all of the kettle locations filled with bellringers throughout the day. So we were not really sure what that's going to look like in the coming weeks.”

Each year, the organization recruits both volunteers and paid bell ringers to help collect donations at its red kettles outside local stores .


Individuals, groups and organizations can sign up to volunteer for a two-hour shift and can sign up for as little as just one bell ringing session.

For David and Amanda Wonders, volunteering with the Salvation Army is one of the quickest ways to get themselves into the Christmas spirit and shine a light in the community.

“I've been doing this for probably 20 years,” David Wonders said. “I think that the big thing is we have been in a place where we have been in need of the Salvation Army and been on the receiving side of that. Now that we’re on the other side, we have the opportunity to give back and support what they're doing. The impact that they're having in the community, helping people in need, that’s something that we want to be a part of.”

When there are no bell ringers at the red kettle station, the Salvation Army leaves a stand with a QR code for passersby to scan and donate, but Curran said the majority of donations come when someone is there to greet those who donate.

“If you see a location where there's a kettle and there's no bell ringer,” Curran said, “that usually means that somebody didn't show up.”

After a few call-offs and no-shows, Curran said he is hopeful more volunteers will come forward as people start taking their holiday breaks.

“If a person is signed up to ring a location and then they don't show up, that's actually worse than if they call and cancel,” Curran said. “Because someone drives all the way out there to set up a kettle and then we come back a few hours and find out that there's nobody there.”

As the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army continues looking for bell ringers, they ask that those who sign up to schedule times they’ll be able to make. And if someone can't make it, they should call ahead of their scheduled time and the Salvation Army can try to find somebody to fill the spot.


“There's nothing like being greeted with a cheerful smile from somebody,” Curran said. “You're just less likely to go over to the kettle when there's nobody there.”

For more information or to volunteer as a bell ringer, visit or call the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army office at 218-829-1120.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email .
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