Cold Weather Keeps Volunteers Away from Bell Ringing

Created: 12/06/2013 8:38 PM KSTP.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Across the country, the Salvation Army depends greatly on their annual red kettle drive to raise the money necessary to provide much needed services throughout the year.  But this year the weather has put those donations at risk.

Mary Boysen would love to be out ringing bells for the Salvation Army.

"It is fun," Boysen said.  "I'm kind of a social animal, and I like to meet people and reconnect with a lot of people."

But a medical condition prevents her from spending too long outside in the cold weather.  Last year she says she was able to ring indoors, but now several local shops have moved the kettles outside, leaving Boysen and others with few options.

"A lot of these ladies and gentlemen belong to your service clubs, your moose, your eagles, your legion, and many of us are older and we don't handle the cold so well," Boysen said.

On Friday, dozens of realtors braved the cold in Rochester to ring bells, but those fortunate enough to stay inside say they know how good they have it.

"I wouldn't relish being out there. some of my colleagues are at Hormel at 4 o'clock in the morning and they were their until seven, outside the entire time, and they're my age, so my hat's off to them," Malcolm McDonald with the Austin Shrine Club said.

The Salvation Army says where the kettles are placed is a decision made by the companies that allow them, and the Army tries its best to accommodate the needs of its ringers.

"Whenever we can, yes, we certainly can," Captain Lee Brickson said.  "We have a number of indoor sites, and we do have Wal-Mart that's outside, but it can be fun if you bring your friends and sing songs and bundle up and do a couple of hours, it can be lots of fun."

But whether they're inside or out, Boysen said the important thing is to give.

"If you see a bucket, put something in it," Boysen said.   "If they ask you to donate a toy, please do."