Wanted: Salvation Army Bell Ringers

A local charity is describing the need for volunteers as desperate. On November 18th, the Salvation Army of Jackson & George counties plans to kick off its annual Kettle drive. The trouble is the organization has virtually no bell ringers.

Workers Donald Daniels and Kim Cundiff say they're worried about this season's kettle drive.

"It's been terrible," said Daniels. "We've had adds in the newspaper for two weeks and have only got two people and one quit this morning."

The staff says most of the people who usually ring the bells were affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"What we're facing right now is our traditional kettle workers are not available. They may have moved out of the area. They may be displaced in some way so we're not having those people come to us as they normally would do because their housing situation is completely changed," Kim Cundiff said.

The kettle drive isn't just about helping needy families at Christmastime. The money from the fundraiser helps stock the pantry, run the Pascagoula homeless shelter and other programs. Salvation Army officials say if the red buckets go empty this year, they'll lose about $75,000 for the needy.

"The impact would be that we'd have to curb our services, the clothing, the food, the financial and that type of assistance," said Daniels. "As you know this hurricane as depleted our resources as it is and hopefully we'll get some more."

With a campaign spread over 20 sites for 30 days, Salvation Army workers are hoping some 40 to 50 volunteers will take up the cause, but right now they'll take whatever they can get.

If you would like to volunteer call the Salvation Army at (228) 762-7222.