Above, The Salvation Army San Marcos Center staff members and guests blessed its bells as it prepares to begin its annual Red Kettle Campaign, Below, Tim Duff, a senior pastor and Word of Life Christian Church in New Braunfels, leads a prayer during The Salvation Army's Blessing of the Bells event on Tuesday. Daily Record photos by Lance Winter
RINGING IN THE SEASON
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, the sound of The Salvation Army’s bells will soon fill the air.
The Salvation Army San Marcos Center is aiming to raise $50,000 that will help it provide area residents with needed assistance. But The Salvation Army is also looking for help this holiday season. It is in need of volunteers to serve as bell ringers for its annual Red Kettle Campaign.
“I've already started reaching out to several of our past volunteer ringers and you know Hays County is strictly volunteer. There are counties that do pay their ringers, we don't,” said Fran Ramirez, kettle coordinator for The Salvation Army San Marcos Center. “We have a few (volunteers) … but we need people.”
The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers for twohour shifts, or groups that will volunteer throughout the day. Bell ringing will take place from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Buda, Kyle and San Marcos Walmart stores and the Cabela’s in Buda from Monday-Saturday.
To protect volunteers from COVID-19, masks and gloves will be provided if needed.
“What we’re looking for is groups to come in that will obligate the entire day and let them feel free to find the bell ringers from their area,” said Anthony Torres, regional representative for The Salvation Army. “But we book the entire day to that organization. That does us a lot of good because it means (Ramirez) doesn’t have to find those ringers.”
According to its website, The Salvation Army is “an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
With the funds raised from its Red Kettle Campaign, The Salvation Army supports children with hunger relief, housing and homeless services, Christmas assistance and youth camps and recreation. Additionally, the organization helps adults with rehabilitation, veterans affairs services, prison ministries, elderly services and by combating human trafficking. The funds raised by the San Marcos Salvation Army stay local and help area residents.
As the Red Kettle Campaign prepares to begin, San Marcos Center Manager Lisa Cruz thanked previous staff members Kathy McNiel and Karen Kent, and current staff Mary Bowser and Ramirez for their work.
The San Marcos Center’s Red Kettle Campaign began earlier than usual on Saturday but it’s official kickoff is Friday, Nov. 27. Torres said COVID-19 has caused concerns about raising the goal of $50,000.
“We’re in a serious crisis with COVID, and we just don’t know if we’re going to be able to bring in $50,000, and that’s going to be detrimental to people that rely on the services that we offer,” Torres said. “It truly, truly is the difference between helping somebody with electricity or helping somebody with some food. That makes that difference and the only way we get that is by bell ringing.”