Salvation Army desperate for volunteers

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Salvation Army bell ringers are a holiday tradition. But Monday night, the charity told NBC12, this year its efforts to help those in need may be in jeopardy. It is desperate for volunteers.

Chesterfield resident Patti Deen's father taught her a very important lesson. He told her, "What you give comes back twofold." It's the reason she has volunteered with The Salvation Army for thirty years.

"Every day when I get up I try to make one person have a better day and that's what The Salvation Army is about to me," she explained.

The organization needs more people like Patti because the red kettle campaign is crucial to its financial stability. Capt. Natalie Sayer hopes all the red buckets will soon be filled with green. The dollars go to help those most in need.

"Whether that's shelter services or our food pantry or direct social services, the money goes directly to those programs," she said.

The need for those programs, and therefore the need for donations, continues to increase.

There are about 55 red kettle sites throughout the greater Richmond area. Often times many of them are left vacant because there aren't enough people to ring the bells.

"That's money that we can't provide for our services," said Sayer.

Since The Salvation Army has to employ some paid bell ringers, it's forced to put some of the money raised towards overhead. Patti thinks there are no excuses, especially because the organization makes it easy for volunteers. Workers will deliver a kettle, bell and apron to your site. All you have to do is show up and smile.

"There has to be an hour or two in a day that you can stand there and greet people and make a difference for 20 people behind you," she said.

What volunteers get in return, Patti explained, warms the heart.

This year's campaign starts Friday and runs through Christmas Eve. Click here to sign up to volunteer. You can also call Capt. Sayer at 433-1684.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved