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Salvation Army kettle campaign in need of bell ringers

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Maj. Nelson De La Vergne sorts bells amid the familiar red kettles at the Bismarck-Mandan Salvation Army. "We need volunteers to ring the bells for the kettles," he said. "It was bad last year, and we hope this year is better." The annual red kettle campaign started 130 years ago, in 1891 in San Francisco. Volunteers who would like to ring bells in Bismarck-Mandan this holiday season or work in the toy shop are asked to call 701-223-1889 or go online at

The Bismarck-Mandan Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring bells as part of its red kettle campaign this holiday season.

The charitable organization needs to fill more than 4,000 hours of ringing time slots, local chapter leader Maj. Nelson De La Vergne said. He didn't know exactly how many volunteers were needed.

Volunteer numbers for the Salvation Army were down last year due to the pandemic -- which was at its peak late in 2020 --  but De La Vergne said he doesn't know why fewer people are signing up for shifts this year.

The lack of bell-ringers can put a damper on the organization's fundraising efforts, according to De La Vergne.

"Kettles do better when somebody's standing there," he said.

Walmarts and Sam's Clubs are some of the locations that raise the most money, but those spots are outdoors and can be hard to fill sometimes, De La Vergne said.

This year's campaign has a goal of $450,000. As of Wednesday, about $8,000 had been raised, the major said. The campaign accounts for about one-third of the organization's annual funding.

To volunteer as a kettle bell-ringer, go to to sign up for a two-hour shift. Donations also can be made online at

The Salvation Army offers spiritual, physical, and emotional services including ministry, food pantries, homeless shelters, after-school programs and disaster relief, among others.

The organization is resuming its Toy Lift program this year after canceling it in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The program provides presents to children in North Dakota and Minnesota who have incarcerated parents. The presents are addressed to indicate they are coming from the parents, according to the organization. More than 300 children will receive gifts through the program.

Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or


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