Salvation Army Bell Ringers are Back

DICKSON CITY -- There are many signs that the holidays are near, but when you hear the bells ringing, you know a red kettle is close by.

This is the first day Salvation Army volunteers are out ringing their bells around Lackawanna County.

From now until December 23, you'll see the bell ringers at several locations including at the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City, The Marketplace at Steamtown, and Price Chopper stores in Taylor and Dunmore.

"Giving has no season. They work all year long to provide help through the whole year, but it's only there for a few weeks," said Sandra Hipsman of Jessup.

The money you drop in every one of those red kettles goes directly back to people in need from right here in our area.

"Concerned about how people live, and will they have food to eat at night, and have clothes on their back? Kids want something under the tree when they wake up on Christmas, so I pray all kids around the world have something to look forward to."

Right now, there are about 35 volunteers ringing their bells around Lackawanna County. Representatives with the Salvation Army say that number is low for this time of the season and they say that can affect how many locations the bell ringers will be.

Bell ringers have spent every holiday season both at the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City, and the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre for the last 15 years.

"The closer it gets to the holiday season, the more people think about giving, you even see little children coming up and giving, and that's wonderful," said Hipsman.

According to officials with the Salvation Army, it's so important to have those volunteers because a kettle with a bell ringer will make about $30 more an hour than an unoccupied kettle.

"I just thank the people for doing it. God bless you and have a nice holiday," Dominic Figliomeni of Dickson City said.

And while the people donating thank the volunteers for their time, the volunteers thank the people and the Salvation Army for all bell ringing has done for them. For Hipsman it's been 11 years of pure joy.

"You can't place a monetary donation on that. Even your time, I've gotten over the years. I'll say, 'Wow, I really needed that! Thank you, sir! Have a good day! Happy holidays.'"

The Salvation Army bell ringers will be out six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until as late as 8 p.m. depending on the weather. If you live in Columbia County you'll start to see your bell ringers on Thursday.