The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign officially kicks off on Nov 12 and now the Salvation Army is looking for volunteer bell ringers.

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In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to feed 1,000 hungry individuals in San Francisco during the holidays. He was unsure of how to raise funds to buy food. He recalled in Liverpool, England there was a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas. Thus began the Salvation Armies Red Kettle Campaign.

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In West Michigan, more than 50 sites in Kent County are set and in need of volunteer bell ringers. Anyone is invited to join as a bell ringer, although children under a certain age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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To become a bell ringer, sign up here.

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Sign up for a date, time, and location that’s convenient for you. Then, start ringing with a smile. Wish shoppers a “Merry Christmas” and thank people for their donation. In most areas, volunteers can sign up for a minimum shift of two hours. You can ring longer if you choose.

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Last year, 42 sites in Kent County raised more than $291 million. Divisional Commander Major Glen Caddy said,

"Bell ringing at a red kettle is rooted in the Salvation Army’s long history and it remains one of the best ways for our community to engage with us in our promise of Doing the Most Good. Ringing spreads Christmas joy while helping to raise vital funds our neighbors rely on."

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