Every time the bell rings

Friday, December 15, 2006
Leonard Ernsbarger rings the bell in front of Ramey's supermarket in Nevada. Bell ringers are a familiar sight in Nevada during the Christmas season, but more volunteers are needed in order to help the local Salvation Army meet its goals.

By Steve Moyer

Nevada Daily Mail

They're very visible this time of year, Salvation Army bell ringers and their red kettles. It takes a lot of effort to keep the bells ringing, there are 48 slots for bell ringers every weekend. These bells may not mean an angel's getting wings like Clarence said in "It's a Wonderful Life," but each ring of the bell gives passersby the chance to make a difference in someone else's life; and it could mean a child gets a merrier Christmas or a family gets badly needed assistance.

"We need people to ring the bells, it takes quite a few people to man the kettles each weekend," Greg Hoffman, volunteer chairman, said. "I need six people on Fridays for Wal-Mart, on Saturday we need ringers at Woods, Rameys and Wal-Mart, so we need 32 people then, and 10 people on Sundays."

Hoffman is asking local civic, church, school, business, or club groups to consider volunteering to adopt a day where members of the group would man the kettle at a particular location for a whole day.

"The holidays are just a short time away," Hoffman said. "Sometimes we have a little trouble getting into the spirit of the season due to our stressful lives and hectic schedules. One sure fire way to slow down and hear the music is to become a volunteer bell-ringer for the Salvation Army."

Hoffman said he had spent a lot of time ringing the bells himself and had noticed that many times people who appeared to be well-off would pass on by without donating while others would donate who looked much less prosperous.

"The thing that I find fascinating is the generosity of the people who look like they might need the services of the Salvation Army will dig out money to donate while others, who look more well-off don't," Hoffman said.

Hoffman speculated that it might just be that more prosperous people donate in a different manner than the less well-off.

"More well-off people donate in large amounts at one time and get a receipt for tax purposes," Hoffman said. "It's just a different way of giving and we need both ways."

Although the bell ringers are probably the most visible aspect of the Salvation Army there are many other people who put time and effort into helping others. Hoffman said the group helped out at all times of the year.

The Salvation Army just had their annual shopping spree for needy youth in the Vernon County area and spent more than $5,000 on the effort.

"We helped 75 kids this year," Hoffman said. "We spent $5,500 on the shopping spree."

"The motto of the Salvation Army is need has no season," Hoffman said. "Whenever there is a need the Salvation Army will help out."

In addition to the annual shopping spree the Salvation Army helps families out with energy assistance and other programs, and they all need funding. One way people can help out other than dropping money into the red kettles is to make a charitable bequest to the organization.

"We have a $30,000 budget and we can always use funds," Hoffman said. "A charitable bequest is one way to help out."

Hoffman noted that unless the bequest is specific the bequest will go to the national organization.

"Unless it's properly done the bequest will go to the national organization and be used all over, and that's good too, but if a person wants the bequest used in Vernon County they need to specify that in the bequest," Hoffman said.

In addition to Hoffman, several members of the community serve on the board for the Vernon County Salvation Army. Jennifer Yarsulik is the local chairperson; Amy Henry, treasurer; Barbara Long, welfare chair; Angie Nichols, secretary and members are Jeanne Baldwin, Charlotte Buerge, Belinda Chadd, Ralph Clark, Anita Ryan, Donna Shorten, Lu Ann Weatherly, Floyd Bennett and Lucille Walker.

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