Bell Ringing Commonly Asked Questions
All You Need to Know About Ringing the Bells
How does it work?
You sign up for a time, date, and location that are convenient for you. After your timeslot has been confirmed simply show up at the appointed location. A kettle and bell will be at your location or take over for the ringer stationed there before you. Just start ringing and smiling! Wish shoppers a “Merry Christmas” and be sure to thank people for their donation.
How long do I have to ring?
You may ring as long as you like, but we do ask that you ring at least a minimum of two hours. We encourage volunteers to take four hours or more as this helps The Salvation Army manage sites and volunteers more effectively. Find someone to share your shift with you.
What if I have to reschedule?
If you find you are unable to make your scheduled ringing time please call 269-743-0834.
What if the weather is bad?
Bell ringing is very rarely cancelled, but if there is inclement weather, and you are unsure, please call the contact number listed on your confirmation email.
What do I wear?
Unless it is otherwise noted you will be standing outside so dress appropriately!!! If it’s cold – bundle up! Wear lots of layers and especially good, comfortable shoes. Winter hats or ear muffs are essential and mittens are better than gloves. Some volunteers bring a small carpet square or rug to stand on to help their feet stay warmer and prevent sore back muscles. Hand and feet warmers are also something to consider.
What if my equipment is late?
Drivers delivering and picking up equipment may have multiple locations, encounter traffic and may be late. Please be patient. If the kettle and bell is not delivered within 10 or 15 minutes of your shift start time, please call the contact number listed on the Kettle Stand.
What do I do with the kettle when I am finished?
The kettle is securely locked onto the stand, and only Salvation Army staff may remove the kettle. If the next ringer has arrived, give the bell to that person so that he/she may start the next shift. If no one has come to replace you or collect the equipment, place the bell in the Kettle Stand Holder, and you may leave. Volunteers are not responsible for “standing guard” over the kettle once their shift is finished.
Who do I contact in an emergency?
If you have an emergency while ringing please call the number on your confirmation email and/or attached to the kettle stand (if it is a different number). If it is a life-threatening emergency please dial 911.
Does Bell Ringing count as community service?
Yes it does!! If you have a form that needs to be signed, bring it with you while you are ringing and ask The Salvation Army staff person to sign it. If you do not get it signed while you are ringing or you need a letter you must have your letters signed by December 31st.
Why are there no kettles out on Sundays?
The Salvation Army is a Christian church and we want everyone to have the opportunity to attend a worship service on Sundays and have a day of rest.
What is the minimum age?
Everyone of any age is welcome to ring at the kettle! We do ask that youth under the age of 16 must have their parent’s permission to ring and that under the age of 14 will have adult supervision while volunteering.
Can I give out Christmas treats/gifts to shoppers?
We ask that while you are volunteering you do not give items such as candy canes, flyers or other items to shoppers. The stores have been gracious enough to allow our kettles in front of their stores to receive donations. As part of our agreement with the stores, we are not allowed to give out items or promotional materials at the kettle.
Can I play music while I am bell ringing?
The majority of stores permit live Christmas music at the kettles. Many shoppers appreciate hearing the music and it really helps in sharing the Christmas spirit. If you have a group performing, we ask that you make sure the entrance to the store and the kettle are not blocked for shoppers.