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Salvation Army needs volunteer bell ringers

Nov. 17, 1999

By KRISTEN STROMBERG

Reporter

Christmas is around the corner, and the Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring bells for the annual Salvation Army Kettle Drive. Volunteering will begin Nov. 19 and continue through Dec. 23.

'This year we are in desperate need for Baylor students to volunteer,' said Rosa Burkes, community service coordinator for the Waco Salvation Army. 'We have had a very slow response from the community for help this year.'

The money raised will go to the toy distribution for needy children. Last year the drive raised $112,000, but $30,000 of the amount raised went to paid workers.

'We are trying to increase our number of volunteer bell ringers so the money can go to the children, not to the workers,' Burkes said.

Burkes said she is trying to get Baylor organizations to volunteer and has had some good responses so far. For example, this is the first year that Sigma Nu fraternity is planning to volunteer.

'This is a great way to give back to the community, especially because it helps children,' said Aaron Heil, a Stanley, Kan., senior and president of Sigma Nu. 'What caught my eye the most was that they had to pay workers to collect donations. That just isn't right.'

The kettle drive will take place in 12 locations around Waco. Some of the major locations will be at Richland Mall, Wal-Mart, Hastings and Target.

'For many years the Salvation Army has helped needy families in McLennan County, but it is at Christmas time that our greatest joy is realized through our toy distribution,' said Bill Pitts, Salvation Army advisory board member.

The ringers work a station for an hour with shifts from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

'If a Baylor organization took a position for one day, for example, they would secure the services for volunteers for eight slots,' Pitts said. 'I would recommend that two people work together for each shift. It is more fun to pass the time together.'

Heil said his fraternity is planning to take a full day of volunteering and rotate the members that sign up throughout the day.

Pitts said the Salvation Army is now the most productive charity of its kind in the United States, and it does much to alleviate economic distress in the Waco community.

Most of the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are still open for volunteers. For more information on volunteering, call Rosa Burks at 756-7271.