You have time ? Take a bell and help fill the red kettles in Billings


The sound of the Salvation Army bells has become synonymous with Christmas. It’s hard to ignore the constant “ding, ding, ding” of the bell as you walk into Walmart or the grocery store. I think it’s really difficult to walk past this red kettle without making a donation.

The bells have been ringing around the holiday season since 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee answered a need to help feed the hungry in San Francisco. The iconic red kettles can now be found in almost every community in the United States and abroad.

Volunteer bell ringers are needed in the Billings area.

I spoke with Salvation Army Billings Corps Lt. Colin Pederson today (9/12) and he said they are experiencing a real shortage of bell ringers this year. They have 11 kettle locations in Yellowstone County to choose from. Due to staffing issues, only 7-10 of the locations are operating most of the time. SIGN UP HERE to volunteer.

  • They ask that the volunteers commit to at least two hours of work.
  • Minors are requested to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Dress warmly. Your quarter-ring will be a lot nicer if you’re not frozen.

Put on a big smile and practice saying “Merry Christmas!”

Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

You can also donate virtually.

It seems that no one is carrying cash anymore. I walked past many red kettles just because I didn’t have any bills with me. It’s embarrassing and I always feel like I owe the bell ringer an apology. You can donate to the Billings Salvation Army Virtual Kettle HERE. An anonymous donor is currently matching online donations, so you are effectively doubling your donation.

Photo by Tim Boyle / Getty Images

Donations are down this year.

Lt. Pederson told us that donations were down about $ 10,000 from last year (to date). Regarding the news; the red kettles are one of their biggest annual fundraisers. I asked him if they had ever received any one-time gifts, like the gold coin found in a kettle in Las Vegas. He said they were given a handful of antique quarters that were worth around four times their face value. He added that they had not received any gold coins … yet.

LOOK: The best holiday toys in the year you were born

With the holiday spirit in the air, now is the perfect time to dive into the history of iconic Christmas presents. Using national toy archives and data kept by The Strong from 1920 to today, Stacker researched products that captured the public’s mind through novelty, innovation, kitsch, eccentricity or just good timing, then propel to success.


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