Thanksgiving comes a week later this year, so the Salvation Army’s bell ringers started early at 25 locations, said Capt. Daren Spencer.
Volunteers still are needed to fill 2,350 two-hour Red Kettle Campaign shifts across the city during the next six weeks.
Volunteers don’t ask for money, they just smile and ring bells. Spencer said.
“People know what the Red Kettle symbol means,” he said. “We’re looking for people who want to go out and have a good time. The big thing will be the cold, but we’re from northern Michigan and we know how to dress warm and be outside in winter.”
Volunteers come from all walks of life and include families, school students, service clubs members, business offices, churches, scout groups, sports teams, he said.
“We usually staff with one, but some volunteers like to come out with someone. Some of the younger ones like to sing. We encourage people to play an instrument or sing.”
It’s easy to sign up for a shift or shifts, said Steve Francis, the Army’s planned giving officer for western Michigan.
Francis rang a bell with Sunrise Rotary Club member Ted Watson and played Christmas songs on his harmonica Thursday afternoon in front of Horizon Books.
People can volunteer online at satraversecity.org by clicking on the “volunteers” tab at the top of the home page. Would-be volunteers also can call Mary Vollink at 231-946-4644, ext. 308 or email her at mary_vollinkusc.salvationarmy.org.
Mary Wollam of Traverse City dropped a dollar into the kettle as Francis talked Thursday.
“I try to put something in every time I go by," she said. "It's not a lot, but it adds up. The Salvation Army does a lot of good.”