Ringing In The Holiday For Those Less Fortunate

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For at least the past nine years, volunteers have been ringing bells in front of Rim Country stores for the Salvation Army.

More bell ringers are needed by the organization to serve two-hour shifts outside of Bashas', Safeway, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

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Payson Community Christian School student Kevin Bubell spent two hours as Salvation Army bell ringer in front of Bashas' Thursday.

"There are 11 shifts at Wal-Mart, 13 at Safeway, 17 at Bashas' and we haven't even touched Walgreens yet," said volunteer Ray Kinsman.

"It's important to help people in need," Kevin Bubell, a ringer from Payson Community Christian School, said.

Including Dec. 7, there are nine more days before Christmas, including Christmas Eve that the Salvation Army bell ringers will stand beside the familiar black kettle and remind people to donate to those less fortunate.

That is 144 shifts, with only 67 filled.

Ringers can serve on December Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays or Christmas Eve.

Anyone can be a bell-ringer, including people with court-ordered community service hours. Minors, 16 years old and under, should be accompanied by an adult.

To sign up, please call Jenny Wegner (928) 970-0601 or Ray Kinsman (928) 474-6577.

Wegner has headed up local volunteers since the Salvation Army Unity leader asked her to in 1999.

"Officers of National Bank of Arizona are required to belong to a service organization. I chose the Salvation Army because it reaches out to needy people," Wegner said.

Volunteering, in addition to her full time job, keeps Wegner busy.

When Ray Kinsman started bell ringing he "took pity" on me and asked if he could help, Wegner said.

She recruited Kinsman, his wife Theresa and Ila Carpenter to assist with volunteer scheduling and follow-up.

Salvation Army assists people in need with utilities, rent, lodging, food, gas, clothing and travel. Donated funds stay in Payson.

National Bank (804 S. Beeline) also has a Salvation Army Angel Tree.

Children served by Time Out and Payson Community Kids and referrals from area churches and the Department of Economic Security have put their Christmas wishes on the tree.

Members of the community have already begun to take tags and fulfill wishes, but more tags remain.

The bank would like to have all the tags taken by Dec. 14 so employees can start distributing the gifts Dec. 18, Wegner said.

For those who wish to help the dogs and cats of the Payson Humane Society, the bank has a drop box for food, blankets, cat litter and pet toys.

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