For more years than anyone can remember, The Salvation Army has placed its bell ringers around town during the Christmas season to raise money to care for the needy. Since 1999, Ray Kinsman, 84, has managed the program with $19,600 being raised last year.
The program starts on the day after Thanksgiving and operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In the week before Christmas, they are out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
A volunteer need only work one two-hour shift. Kinsman said. “We need to fill 361 two-hour shifts at four locations.” Of the 163 bell ringers Kinsman signed up, 79 have had to work multiple shifts to cover the locations.
“We need at least 50 more volunteers to cover all locations.”
Kinsman said the bell ringing campaign is The Salvation Army’s main fund-raiser.
The money raised by the bell ringers is used to help those in need during the holidays and year-round.
The head of the Rim Country chapter of The Salvation Army, Jenny Wegner, who is also branch manager of National Bank, said “we disperse funds for a variety of needs such as utilities, partial rent, fuel, lodging, food, medical expenses, clothing and pay the $20 co-pay for referrals to the Christian Clinic.”
They also used the money raised to send children to The Salvation Army’s Ponderosa Summer Camp.
Wegner said they will have an Angel Tree at the National Bank lobby during the second week of December with tags containing names of children and their needs.
“We receive referrals from many agencies such as law enforcement, Time Out, churches, Department of Economic Security and other nonprofits.”
The Salvation Army has a long and compassionate history going back to its roots in 1865 in London with former Methodist minister, William Booth.
It grew quickly and began in the United States in 1880. The Salvation Army now ministers in more than 100 countries and in 114 languages.
All money collected in Payson stays here to help needy children and families.
Anyone interested in being a bell ringer during the Christmas season can call Kinsman at (928) 474-6577.