Ringing in the holidays: The Salvation Army helps those that can't always help themselves
EUGENE, Ore. - In some cities around the country, the Salvation Army is facing a shortage of bell ringers.
The Red Kettle Campaign helps out people in our community with food, clothes and rent. Despite the shortage nationwide, here in Lane County, we're actually seeing an increase in volunteers.
Major John Tumey says that last year, they hit a new goal by raising more than $100,000. The money stays right here in Lane County, and they're now looking for volunteers to help beat that goal.
The Red Kettle Campaign itself helps people in Lane County by providing them with seasonal jobs. One of those people is Ann Bailey, 26, who is not only working as a bell ringer to support herself and her community. She also has a disability, and hopes that working with the Red Kettle Campaign will help inspire others to do the same.
During the winter months, you'll find Bailey outside of the Valley River Center, spreading some holiday cheer and raising people's spirits, as well as raising money to support her community through the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
"I love helping those that can't help themselves," said Bailey. "The concept of that is much more powerful and deeper for me."
That's because not only is she helping the community, but Bailey also needed some help along the way.
Bailey has high functioning autism, which makes it difficult for her to get a job. She says that the paid seasonal job is helping her save up.
"I have been in foster care since I was 12 years old," said Bailey. "I'm saving that money up for a first and last month's deposit so I can live on my own."
So along with ringing in the holiday season, Bailey is spreading a message to others with disabilities.
"Yeah, we have barriers. But they shouldn't prevent us from doing something that we love doing. Be the person we want to be," said Bailey.
For Ann, she wants to be the person greeting others with a smile, and a bell.