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Salvation Army lacking volunteers for bell ringing

The Salvation Army is working extra hard this holiday season to try and get people to come out...
The Salvation Army is working extra hard this holiday season to try and get people to come out and help with their traditional bell ringing.(Hailey Mach, KSNB)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 10:45 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - If you’ve ever been to a grocery store during the holidays, you’ve likely seen and heard the Salvation Army bell ringers — but this year you may notice there’s not as many bells ringing.

Hastings Salvation Army is working extra hard this holiday season to try and get people to come out and help with their traditional bell ringing.

“We’ve had beautiful weather, I don’t know if that’s because of it or what but we desperately need some people to go online or come down to the office and help us out so we can reach our goal,” said Hastings Salvation Army Major Dale Brandenburg.

With the lack of volunteers this year, Brandenburg stood outside of the Hastings Walmart for nine hours Tuesday. He said he had cleared his schedule to help raise the funds to reach their goal of $51,000. The money goes towards the services the organization provides to their clients. If they don’t reach their goal, Brandenburg said they would have to make some changes in their social service office.

Alan Weidner was volunteering outside of Hastings Walmart Tuesday morning. He said this year was the first time he had come out to volunteer for the bell ringing and had signed up for several shifts. He noted, he volunteered because the Salvation Army “gives a lot and helps a lot of people.”

With a few more hours left of bell ringing for the year, Weidner wanted one thing.

“A lot of donations, a lot of donations,” he said. “People out there, be really nice just to give a little, little change or dollar here, a dollar there, all adds up.”

Brandenburg said, having volunteers like Weidner were essential to meeting their monetary goal, but despite the lack of help.

“I’m scared to death, I’m nervous, but … last week, seven to 10 days, it comes in,” Brandenburg noted. “The people in Hastings have always met the needs for the Salvation Army. If we get the word out, let them know that we’re needing something, they’ll usually come through. And so, we’ve made it every year but it’s been a little nerve-wracking.”

He continued, this trend of not having enough people volunteering to ring bells was something they had been experiencing for some time, but the past two years they noticed even less people signing up. Brandenburg said he was hopeful the Hastings community would come forward like they had before to help reach their goal.

Grand Island Salvation Army Lieutenant Liza Ayala said they were having similar issues as the Hastings Salvation Army. She said they were lacking volunteers at all of their locations, including both Super Savers, both Walmarts, Ace Hardware, Hobby Lobby and Sam’s Club. The GI Salvation Army goal is $75,000, and Ayala said they needed volunteers to help reach this amount. She said the days they needed people the most were Monday through Friday.

Anyone looking to sign up to volunteer for the bell ringing are able to visit the website and pick a time and location of their choice.

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