Salvation Army in need of bell ringers this holiday season

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

Bell-ringing volunteers with the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign are a familiar sight during the holidays, but local organizers are concerned that this year’s effort may face a shortage of volunteers.

Captain Antwann Yocum of the Johnson City Salvation Army said the organization has seen a decrease in volunteers due in part to COVID. “Over the last year and a half I believe the main reason has been the pandemic, as people are still a little more apprehensive about going out and doing things,” he said. “It is hard to determine the direct cause of the lack of volunteerism, but one thing that may be a reason is that people have not continuously been aware of the need for support.”

However, he said the Salvation Army’s work has not stopped and the need for support continues. “Here at the Salvation Army, we have not closed down our programs due to COVID and our homeless shelter has stayed open. Our staff continues to be on the front lines and continue to help people get off the streets,” Yocum said.

All proceeds from the Red Kettle campaigns go directly back into the program, giving the nonprofit funds to operate things like its homeless shelter.

Yocum is making a plea now for volunteers. “It is a personalized experience, and we are only asking for individuals interested for three hours at a time. It is not a big time commitment, and we encourage people to volunteer with a friend or a small group because with other people, three hours flies by,” he said.

Along with that, people can be encouraged that their volunteerism is directly helping get people off of the streets. “We have people dropped off at our shelter all the time, and volunteering to raise money helps with the costs of helping those staying at the shelter,” Yocum said.

Yocum reminded the public that even the smallest contribution makes a difference. “The Red Kettle is the easiest way for the community to take part in our fundraising season. No matter how much you have to give, we will take anything as even the smallest contributions help us tremendously.”

Friday, Nov. 19, is the first day that people in the area can expect to see Salvation Army bell ringers, and those interested in volunteering can either go to registertoring.com or call the Salvation Army Office in Johnson City at (423) 926-2101.