Volunteer Bell Ringing

Be Part of the Legacy

The Red Kettle Campaign has a deep history in America.  It began in 1891 in San Francisco when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to provide a free Christmas dinner to families in need.  He used an idea originally developed in Liverpool, England where people could throw some change into a pot to help the poor.  Six years later, it spread to the East Coast and continued to grow into the tradition it is today, spreading throughout the entire United States and across the world.  For a full history of the Red Kettle Campaign, you can click this link: Red Kettle History.

Kettle Facts

  • Funds collected in the kettles supports all of the programs and services offered locally by The Salvation Army.
  • The holiday kettle campaign is The Salvation Army’s largest fundraising campaign – and its worldwide!
  • The people who are ringing the bells can be either volunteers or paid bell ringers.

About our bell ringers

  • Some of our bell ringers are paid, while others donate their time to support The Salvation Army.
  • Ringing bells as a family can become a fun, holiday tradition.
  • Many civic, school and church groups have holiday bell ringing days.

Who can be a bell ringer?

In short answer, anyone can be a bell ringer!

  • We encourage groups, families and individuals to participate in holiday bell ringing.
  • People of all ages can ring bells, but we ask that student groups and children have adult supervision.
  • Anyone with a couple of spare hours and the desire to spread the holiday spirit is welcome.


  • What is the time commitment?  It varies.  Some groups ring daily, others just once during a holiday season.  We ask you to commit to a minimum two hour shift.
  • Is there an expense for me?  No!  We supply the kettle, kettle stand, an apron and the bells.
  • How long is the bell ringing season?  This year, we will ring Monday through Saturday from November 13 until December 23.
  • Why does bell ringing start so early?  Traditionally, we begin the campaign locally the Monday following Veteran’s Day.
  • Can I pick my location?  We have a list approved sites and you can select your location from the list.

Fun Ideas

  • Sing Christmas carols while you, your friends or family gather around the kettle.
  • Develop a challenge amongst your friends, colleagues or even rivals to see who can raise more funds. (Think Team A vs. Team B)
  • Dress up! Some of our volunteers wear fun holiday clothing!


For more information, please call 941-748-5110 and ask to speak with Melissa Fernandez, or email, Melissa.Fernandez@uss.salvationarmy.org.