Created: 12/02/2013 7:17 PM KSTP.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 News) -- It's one of the sounds-of-the-season.
But Salvation Army chapters around the area tell us the ringing of bells isn't as loud as it could be ... and they need your help to make it louder.
"I think the Salvation Army in southeast Minnesota is always having a challenge trying to find enough bell ringers" the Rochester Army’s Dave Ferber told us.
And now, the countdown to Christmas has begun.
"We're actually down to 605 hours that we need volunteers, down from 900 and some last week" said Kris Maier at the Salvation Army in Austin.
But those can be costly hours for the Army if they can't be filled with volunteers.
"People like to see a bell ringer there, and it has been proven that if somebody is by the kettle it will bring in more money than if it's standing empty" the Austin Army’s Kris Maier explained.
“Some do pay for their ringers. In Rochester we don't, in Austin they do" Rochester’s Dave Ferber told us.
“We put paid bell ringers there or they stand empty ... there's no kettle there" said Austin’s Kris Maier.
Paid ringers make 8 dollars an hour.
"And those are generally people who can be in a situation where they need a job, and this is a great time of year to employ them" said the Rochester Salvation Army’s Dave Ferber.
And while 8 dollars an hour's not a *lot* of money:
"That takes from what we're making ... that takes away from our goal, what we have to pay" Kris Maier said.
The Albert Lea Salvation Army still has about 500 ringer-hours available between now and Christmas eve, and does *not* pay ringers to fill slots that are not taken by volunteers.
And the Austin Army is recruiting volunteers to fill open hours so paid ringers don't dig too deeply into the 60-thousand dollar goal for this year's red kettle campaign.
"It's used all year long ... it's used in the food shelf, it's used for rent, it's used for utilities, it's used to help people pay for prescriptions, it's used for all of our programs" Kris Maier told us.
Contact your local Salvation Army office to learn more about becoming a bell ringer.