Salvation Army bell ringers needed for Rantoul sites

RANTOUL — Christmas is about giving, and the Salvation Army is asking area residents to give a little of their time to the less fortunate.

Al Vogelsang of Rantoul, Salvation Army board member, said people are needed to volunteer as bell ringers for the Army’s annual fundraising effort. Salvation Army has three kettles in Rantoul — two at Wal-Mart and one at County Market.

The kettles go out and the bell ringing begins this Friday until Dec. 23, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Each volunteer rings for two hours.

“You can even do it as a family,” Vogelsang said. “It doesn’t have to be just adults.”

The more people who volunteer to ring the bell, the fewer people Salvation Army has to pay to do the work, “and that cuts into our profits,” Vogelsang said.

Money raised goes to help those who are less fortunate.

Every year some of the same people volunteer to be bell ringers. Area Rotary clubs, for example, regularly volunteer.

“Between the Rantoul and Champaign Rotary, they cover all the sites (in Champaign County) on a Saturday,” Vogelsang said. “This year it’s Dec. 16. That’s always our biggest day.”

The youth group at Rantoul’s Christian Life Church will cover three Saturdays at the Rantoul sites.

This year’s Christmas campaign goal in Champaign County is $500,000, which represents 30 percent of the area Salvation Army budget.

Funds raised are used for the food pantry, utility assistance, emergency disaster relief, a Steppingstone homeless service in which SA houses homeless families in a motel for three months. Salvation Army has had as many as 42 people in that program at a time.

Salvation Army programs serve all of Champaign County, including “a lot of Rantoul people,” Vogelsang said.

All but 82 cents of every dollar donated goes to those in need — the rest going to cover administrative expenses.

Salvation Army also operates a toy store at Christmas time that served 1,700 children last year.

SA also provides food vouchers through a social service program that goes to Community Service Center’s Holiday Bureau program in Rantoul in which everyone who signs up for toys receives vouchers to County Market.

To volunteer to be a bell ringer, visit the Salvation Army website at (visitors are urged to leave their email address) or call 217-373-7832.


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