Salvation Army needs volunteer bell ringers
The Salvation Army will start bringing out bell ringers for their annual kettle fund drive on Black Friday, but they’re looking for more volunteers willing to help them raise money.
Every Christmas season, the Salvation Army starts up their kettle fund drive, which is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and they use the money throughout the year for the many needs of their clients, and Salvation Army of Odessa Lt. Juan Gomez said every dollar raised stays in Ector County.
“These dollars are not only how we run our social service office or go after grants for our shelter or our administration office,” Gomez said. “It is also how we’re able to help different clients or guests who come up and ask for things that are sometimes out of their everyday services.”
Gomez said this has been happening to them much more often lately due to the large amount of people coming to Odessa looking for work.
“They came here in hopes to get a job and all of a sudden they can’t do the job,” he said. “So now they’re stuck, and so they need to get back home, and trying to find a way to help them with those dollars that we raise this time of the year is how we are able to say yes through this time of the year.”
Gomez said they set a goal to raise $140,000 this year to help meet those needs. They were unable to meet that goal last year, coming about $20,000 short, and are still looking for more volunteers. Gomez said they would like to have 25 to 50 percent of their bell ringers volunteer, but said it looks like only about 4 or 5 percent will be volunteering.
In order to make up for the volunteer shortage, Gomez said they will be paying some people to go out and ring bells for them, which he said is also a good way to help some of those who are in need of additional income.
“During the downtime, we do see it also as an opportunity for us to help,” he said. “Because of the wages of the community, being able to go to McDonald’s and make $14 an hour, we’re having to pay as much as we can, and we’re paying $10 an hour.”
Gomez said they plan to have bell ringers out from Monday through Saturday every week through Christmas Eve at 12 to 21 locations. Everyone who volunteers will take turns working two-hour shifts, a total of four shifts a day.
One group of volunteers is being organized by Frost Bank. Erika Dominguez with Frost Bank is part of the volunteer team, and said their Regional Vice President organized with the Salvation Armies in Odessa and Midland to help with their kettle fundraising efforts.
“We volunteer with different organizations and so we decided to participate with them, get the team together and get everybody out there and help the community and ring that bell,” Dominguez said. “This is the first time, so we’re all super excited to be a part of it.”
Gomez said anyone who wants to donate after the kettle drive ends can still donate a check at their location, 810 E. 11th St. Anyone who would like to sign up to volunteer for the kettle drive can do so by calling Gomez at 432-310-2737.