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November 14, 2012 06:39 AM

Bell Ringers To Soon Greet Customers

Sioux Falls, SD

The sound of ringing bells will soon greet customers at many stores across the country including in South Dakota.

It's one of the biggest fundraising drives that the Salvation Army puts on and it literally helps thousands of people every year.

It's a tradition that is as dependable as Christmas itself. Every year, volunteers brave the cold to ring that signature bell. And while it may only be pocket change to you, it can make a big difference.

"Together were doing the most good," Maj. Thomas Riggs with the Sioux Falls Salvation Army said.

They stands may be empty now, but soon shoppers will hear ringing bells at many store fronts in KELOLAND.

"This Friday we start here in Sioux Falls our Red Kettle Campaign, our annual fundraiser, and this is an event that happens all over the United States and actually it goes on all over the world now," Riggs said.

The local Salvation Army's goal for its annual Red Kettle Campaign is $350,000. When you add in the mail fundraiser, that number grows to $500,000. It's a third of the organizations annual budget.

"So it’s tremendous. And again, as people contribute, a lot of people contribute because they know what it's like to experience difficulty so they're giving out of their own personal experience," Riggs said.

He says many people who aren't struggling contribute because they want to make sure no one goes hungry. With many organizations seeing dwindling donations, Riggs says that's always a concern.

"But what I have found within the Salvation Army is it's a lot of people who really understand what need is. So maybe they don't have those large gifts to put in but they're able to put in their nickels and their dimes. And it's surprising how much that brings in," Riggs said.

The campaign runs through Christmas Eve.

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