When you drop a dollar (or more!) into a Salvation Army kettle, that money helps fund programs in your community—from the food pantry, emergency utility assistance, to after-school programs and so much more. That money helps The Salvation Army serve some 23 million Americans a year. So each of the 25,000 individuals who stand by a red kettle every year and ring a silver bell have an important role to play. 

You can help as a volunteer this season and here’s five reasons why you should:

Five reasons you should ring a bell this Christmas

1. Start a family tradition.

Many families volunteer during the holidays to instill the value of giving back to the community in their children.  Ringing a bell is a great way to introduce them to volunteer work. It is simple enough that even the youngest child can help, but you can feel good knowing the impact is huge.

2. Christmas caroling.

Christmas caroling is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Nothing says, “It’s Christmastime” like hearing people singing their favorite holiday tunes. This year, sing your heart out while raising money for The Salvation Army. 

3. Have a reason to wear tacky Christmas sweaters.

Dressing up to ring bells makes it even more fun. The Salvation Army Family Stores have a wide array of Christmas sweaters that will make great holiday attire. You can wear your favorite tacky Christmas sweater, dress like Santa or Mrs. Claus, an elf or a reindeer. Be creative.

4. It’s fun!

Being a bellringer is a lot of fun. Grab your family or a group of friends and make a day out of it. Pack hot chocolate, cookies and your camera for a fun holiday experience. The more the merrier at the red kettle!

5. The money you raise directly impacts your community.

The Red Kettle Campaign is The Salvation Army’s largest annual fundraiser with at least 85 percent of everything raised by bellringers going directly to community-based programs that feed the hungry, help at-risk youth, assist those experiencing homelessness and many other programs the Army offers all year long.

How to become a bellringer

Sign up to volunteer at volunteer.usawest.org and choose a date, time and location that work for you. 

Arrive on shift and ring your bell with a smile. 

Wish shoppers a Merry Christmas and thank them for their donation.

Feel good about helping others in your community.


Do Good: 

  • Volunteer to be a bellringer this Christmas at volunteer.usawest.org.
  • Visit westernusa.salvationarmy.org to find The Salvation Army nearest you. 
  • Give to support the fight for good in your community.
  • The Salvation Army provides over 10 million nights of lodging to those in need every year in the U.S. See more in these 8 facts you need to know about homelessness and The Salvation Army’s fight against it.