Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Salvation Army's bells falling silent

Ringer shortage cuts donations

The Cincinnati Enquirer

salvation army
Salvation Army volunteer Lisa Shipley steadies kettle for donor Emily Chamberlain, 4.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        Facing a shortage of workers and volunteers, the Salvation Army is doing everything it can to get bells ringing and coins jingling during its annual holiday fund-raising drive.

        A week into the campaign that began Nov. 16, about 20 of the 50 bell-ringing locations within the Interstate 275 beltway remain empty.

        “Those little bell ringers, they have a ripple effect that people don't even realize,” said Larry Fisher, director of the Cincinnati Citadel community center, one of six posts where donations provide free meals and warm beds, youth programs and counseling.

        “If the money weren't here, it would be a big void in the community.”

        The centers feed more than 2,700 people each Sunday, and served nearly 41,000 with community programs last year. Another 13,000 received emergency housing, clothes, medicine or utility payments. More than 24,000 kids attended summer day camp.

        “It's the nature of the program” that the Salvation Army has a tough time filling bell-ringing posts during the busy holiday season, said Cincinnati Area Christmas Coordinator Christy Cox.

        “But for some reason, it seems harder this year.”

        The booming economy means the $6- to $8-an-hour jobs are in less demand, she said.

        Betty Kelow, 33, stationed at Kroger in Hyde Park, said the appeal is not just her pay.

        “I'm meeting a lot of beautiful people. ... The kids love to hear the bell ringing and they come up to me with big smiles. (The adults) strike up a conversation and it's like you're old friends.

        “It's the real meaning of Christmas, doing selfless work ... to help other people.”

        ×ah ×cf,42,9.6,9.9 To volunteer or to apply for a bell-ringing job, call 762-5683.


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