By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
Three times a week, David Craig, 49, of rural Charlotte, volunteers his time. People can see him smiling and ringing a bell outside Barnes Foodland in DeWitt.
For the first time, David is volunteering as a Salvation Army bell ringer. When he was young, he worked as a paid bell ringer for extra Christmas money. This year, his employer, Magnaflux, in DeWitt, encouraged employees to volunteer their time. David began ringing a bell for the kettle fundraiser during the week of Thanksgiving.
David and his siblings grew up in the Salvation Army church. He felt the Salvation Army needed volunteers for its kettle program. Lt. Jeanette Jensen agreed on the importance of volunteers.
“Volunteers are the (Salvation) Army’s lifeblood,” Jensen said.
Jensen said the Salvation Army loves its paid bell ringers. In fact, many of her clients serve as paid bell ringers for a chance to raise extra money. However, Jensen pointed out that when they get a volunteer bell ringer, the money they would pay that person for wages can instead go back to the Salvation Army, increasing their profit.
“And ultimately it’s a greater profit for our community because that’s where our money goes,” Jensen said.
Currently, David is the only individual volunteer bell ringer for the Clinton Salvation Army. Jensen does have another person and some clubs signed up for later in the month. However, she said they need more volunteers.
Besides helping a good cause, David enjoys being a bell ringer. He loves talking to people and seeing the children.
“It’s really encouraging when I see the kids begging their mom and dad to donate so they can put it in the kettle,” David said.
He enjoys seeing the people, even if they do not have any money to spare. He said not everyone can afford to make a donation.
“It’s not about what you donate, or how you donate. It’s what you can afford to do,” David said. “You just shouldn’t feel bad about it if you can’t do it (donate).”