HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Nov. 21, 2005

Salvation Army looking for local bell-ringers

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The season of giving is near and Salvation Army volunteers will be ringing bells outside the Marketplace this year beginning today (Monday).

This year in Cokato, the Marketplace will be hosting the bell ringers. Donations are beginning today, and will continue through Friday Dec. 23. Last year the ringers at the Marketplace raised $5391 for the Wright County Salvation Army.

Volunteers will ring on an hourly basis. Many openings are still available. Shifts available are weekdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Weekends are every hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Time donated on the weekends is usually from local organizations such as the Cokato Fire Department, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and youth from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato.

According to Alta Mae Morris, Carol Lee has been known to donate the most time. This year she has signed up for 10 hours of bell ringing.

The Salvation Army began in 1865 in London by Methodist Minister, William Booth. He established a Christian ministry “based on the philosophy of “soup, soap and salvation” and became a “volunteer army.”

Later, Booth put a line through “volunteer” and replaced it with ‘salvation’ and from then on, it’s been the Salvation Army.

The Army is now in 109 countries and in over 160 languages.

According to the Salvation Army, the Christmas kettles began in 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee in San Francisco.

McFee wanted to help provide families in need with meals and remembered the “Simpson’s pot” used in Liverpool, England in which “passers-by threw charitable donations.” McFee placed a similar pot at the ferry landing in Oakland to “attract donations from those going to and from the ferry boats.”

Over a hundred years later, the Salvation Army continues the kettle tradition and with the money raised, they provide “clothing, shelter, toys, financial assistance and counseling year-round.”

Bell ringers and kettles are usually seen outside of shopping centers and stores through out the holiday season.

“Every hour helps us out,” Morris said, and “we’ve always had a good response.”

The money raised goes to the Wright County Salvation Army.

For anyone interested in helping out or for more information, call Virgil or Alta Mae Morris at (320) 286-5239.

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