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Santa Maria Salvation Army in need of bell ringers

For more than 100 years, Salvation Army bell ringing has been a familiar sight and part of the soundtrack of the holiday season.

“Donations that we get from this campaign really sets the precedence for our budget for next year, and we’re able to help more people the more donations we get,” said Santa Maria Corps Officer Patricia Torres.

Donations c {“height”:270,”width”:480,”thumbnail_url”:””,”version”:”1.0″,”title”:”Santa Maria Salvation Army in need of bell ringers”,”author_name”:”KEYT – KCOY – KKFX News”,”provider_url”:””,”provider_name”:”YouTube”,”thumbnail_width”:480,”thumbnail_height”:360,”type”:”video”,”html”:”n&#lt;iframe width=” 480″ height=”270″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”&#gt;&#lt;/iframe&#gt;n”,”url”:””,”author_url”:””} ollected at the Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles helps support numerous programs like rental and utility assistance, food pantry and meal services.

“A lot of those programs would either need to shut down or we would need to cut back on the amount of families that we’re able to help,” said Torres.

With the holiday season now in full swing, the Salvation Army of Santa Maria is need of help.

“This year we’ve been short on bell ringers, so we ask that the community step up,” Torres said.

Currently in Santa Maria, the Salvation Army has bell stations in operation daily at 14 various businesses. That’s down from the usual number located throughout the city.

“We’re trying to fill 20,” Torres said. “(That’s) our regular number of stores that we have, but because we’ve been short, we are only able to been able to fill 14.”

Fewer kettles open means fewer donations are being taken in, creating concern for the Salvation Army. To help open up more bell stations, the Salvation Army is hoping members of the community will volunteer their time.

“We’re trying to reach our to our community,” said Torres. “This community is very generous. A couple of hours of your time would make a significant difference in the amount of people that we can help.”

Bell stations are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Torres says bell ringers are needed in two-hour shifts. In addition to individuals who volunteer their time, Torres adds many local businesses take part, as do families.

“You can make it a family tradition,” Torres said. “We’ve had families that do this every year, and now the grand kids are getting involved. It really is a wonderful way to get the whole family involved.”

Donna Moore has been involved as a bell ringer for 14 years. On Thursday, she was manning the kettle in front of Walmart.

“It gives me a good feeling knowing that I’m helping others that don’t have much, especially the homeless and other programs that we do throughout the year,” said Moore.

Moore adds those who volunteer can have fun while bell ringing. She says you can sing, dance and enjoy the time.

“Anyone can do it, as long as you are enthused about doing it,” Moore said. “It takes a little bit of hard work, but any job takes hard work, but you can do it.”

For those who would like to volunteer, they can call the Salvation Army of Santa Maria at (805) 349-2421.

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