MARYSVILLE – You know it’s Christmas season when the bells start ringing for the Salvation Army.
Mayor Jon Nehring kicked off the annual red kettle campaign as usual Friday at Fred Meyer.
Money raised goes to Salvation Army programs that help people in need year-round.
Nehring said that he didn’t realize just how many programs the Salvation Army has until a recent fund-raiser.
“I learned about all of the great things the Salvation Army does,” he said.
Some of the programs are geared to help the homeless and the fight the opioid epidemic. Nehring is leading the city in its fight against those two problems.
The Salvation Army is also involved in fighting poverty, hunger, teaching kids, helping the elderly, helping during disasters and providing weekly church services.
Also at the kickoff was Salvation Army Lt. Ruairi Ward, his wife Sarah, and their four boys Seamus, 5; Cillian, 3; and twins Ronan and Pearse, 2.
Ward said the Marysville effort is in need of bell-ringers. And it’s easy to volunteer. Just go to volunteer.usawest.org, put in your zip code and you can find day-time-location for bell-ringing opportunities.
The only requirement is to volunteer in two-hour time blocks. Service organizations, church members and individuals can sign up.
Ward said locally there are 14 locations, including in Arlington. Bell-ringers are usually needed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ward said there are seasonal workers hired to ring bells. “They need some extra money at Christmas time,” he said.
But the more volunteers the more money there will be for services. “Some stores require volunteers only,” Ward added.
He said he has a goal next year of 50 percent of the time volunteers are helping. Currently, the rate is only about 15 percent.
“We need to establish a bedrock this year,” he said.