The Salvation Army has been assisting approximately 25 million American families year after year to help make life a little easier during the holidays, but this year it is in need of some extra volunteers.
Last year the Bakersfield Salvation Army collected a $152,000 this year their goal is $155,000 but in order to do that Kevin Pope, of the Salvation Army said what they really need is more volunteers, "You know we are having to pay the bell ringer their minimum wage to be there out of what we make in the kettles so if somebody maybe says you know I don't have the money to donate but I've got time so if they want to donate they can go to registertoring.com if they want to be a volunteer bell ringer."
According to Pope, less people are carrying change in their pockets to donate to the Salvation Army red kettle bucket as compared to recent years. As a way to make donating easier on community members the Salvation Army invested in two Dip Jars for bell ringers to use at kettle locations, “They can be preset for a donation amount and all the donor has to do it take their credit or debit card out and stick it in the slot and pull it out," Pope said.
In Bakersfield alone there is a team of 22 bell ringers at 22 different kettle locations. One third of the bell ringers are volunteers and the others are paid staff. However, the entire group is still supporting one initiative, "We have a lot of programs we have senior youth programs, emergency disaster services, we've got a food pantry here. All that money stays here to go back into the community of Bakersfield,” Pope said.
If you don't want to donate to a bell ringer or you forgot your cash or card you can still donate according to Pope, “You can go to 1-800-SALARMY and donate or you can go to salvationarmyus.org and go there and just make sure you select your city Bakersfield and make your donation there, that way you are positive that your money is coming back here into the community."
Pope said despite the decrease in people carrying cash he hasn't had to cut back on staff and the staff told 23ABC News that they are grateful to be able to give back during the holidays each year.
As of Monday November 26, the Salvation Army in Bakersfield was down $1500 from last year at this time. They hope to be able to reach their goal with the communities help