By Cliff Radel
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Dust off those bells. It's time for the Salvation Army's 2003 Red Kettle Campaign.
Bell ringers are needed for the fund-raiser, which runs Nov. 10 through Dec. 24.
"We never seem to get enough volunteers," said Matt Pearce, the campaign's volunteer coordinator.
"The last four years, we have had to bring in temp workers to ring the bells. Paying people to raise money sort of defeats our purpose."
The campaign's purpose is to help needy families during the holidays and throughout the year. That's achieved by meeting its goal of raising $500,000 dropped in kettles at 100 Greater Cincinnati locations.
The Salvation Army is trying to avoid hiring bell ringers by making the hours as flexible as possible.
"Volunteers can work as long as they want. It can be one hour or all day," Pearce said.
"Community groups like the Kiwanis or the Boy Scouts can adopt a kettle" - for a day or a week or longer.
"If some students need to do their community service work, they can bring along a buddy."
There's strength in numbers. Money, too. Pearce has found that the more people standing around a kettle, the higher the rate of donations.
A bell ringer's job description sounds pretty straightforward: Ring bell. Smile. Wear Salvation Army volunteer pin. Thank donors. Ring bell some more. Saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" or "God bless you" is optional.
"Bell ringers do not ask people for money," Pearce said. "We discourage that."
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