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December 9, 2020

During the holiday season families gather round to share in their traditions. For Partner, Timothy Engelbrecht, one of those family traditions is partaking in a community service project together. To help spread cheer and holiday giving, this year’s volunteer efforts took place closer to home, their community grocery store.

1.    For those who aren’t as familiar or aware, what is the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, also known as, Salvation Army’s Bell Ringing?

The Salvation Army places red kettles at supermarkets and other community centers during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons in order to collect money for those in need.  People volunteer their time to stand next to the red kettles ringing a small bell to encourage donations.  The Red Kettle campaign started back in 1891.  You can read the inspiring history of it by clicking this link.  Today, the Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people in the U.S. during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.  The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign takes place in many other countries around the world too.


2.    What inspired you and your family to sign up as volunteer bell ringers this year?

As a kid growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I played basketball in a Saturday-morning league at a gymnasium at our local Salvation Army location.  That location also had after-school activities for kids as well as a food bank for families in need.  Being there on Saturday mornings gave me the opportunity to see the good work the Salvation Army did in my community.  In addition to that, I remember seeing red kettles and bell ringers every Christmas season.  I have always wanted to be part of that tradition.  One of the great things about the money the Salvation Army raises through the Red Kettle campaign is that the money stays in the local area to help with housing, meals, education, and job training. 


3.    What does it mean to you to participate together, as a family, in a community service project?

It has become our family tradition to volunteer through a community service organization in the Tampa Bay area during the holidays.  As bell ringers this year, my family and I enjoyed spending the day together because so many of the people who donated to the kettle were families as well who were shopping with their children.  The generosity was amazing.  It was a true community effort. 


4.   For those who are interested, how does one sign up to volunteer as a Salvation Army bell ringer?

The process is easy.  Just go to Register To Ring and follow the prompts.  In addition to that, the Salvation Army runs a program called Angel Tree.  Angel Tree is a Christmas program that the Salvation Army organizes where donors will purchase gifts for children whose parents can’t afford Christmas presents. The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers to help distribute those donated presents on December 17 and 18.  The location is the Salvation Army gymnasium at 1100 W. Sligh Ave Tampa, FL 33604.  Email Kasey Allison.  She is the Seasonal Volunteer Coordinator.  Her email is  She asked me to pass this along to friends and co-workers since the Salvation Army is very short-handed this year.