Salvation Army bell ringers in short supply

By Kelly McCarthy

December 12, 2013 Updated Dec 12, 2013 at 7:36 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) With a shortage of bell-ringing volunteers this year, the Salvation Army is concerned they may have to short change their charity efforts this holiday season.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is their largest fundraiser of the year.

The Binghamton Salvation Army has 14 Red Kettle locations, but are only able to fill about half of those locations with volunteers, and only for a few hours each day.

Maj. Ron Heimbrock of the Binghamton Salvation Army said without a volunteer to "man" a red kettle and ring a bell, the Salvation Army can't place a kettle in front of stores.

"I believe that people really do want to give to the Salvation Army, but if they don't see a kettle out front of the store they feel like they don't have the opportunity," said Heimbrock.

The money from the red kettles goes toward the Salvation Army's food pantry, daily hot meals, and this year some of the money will help spread holiday cheer.

"This Christmas season we're providing toys to over 1,400 children," Heimbrock said, "So we have a lot of needs that we're trying to meet and we can only meet the needs if we get the donations."

Volunteers choose a store location and the hours they wish to stand out front.

"It looks kind of hard, and it is cold," said Milton Rucker of Binghamton, "But you get a warm feeling by greeting the people and the smile and their giving of donations."

Because there is a lack of bell ringers this year people might not have the same opportunity to donate. The Salvation Army said even if a red kettle isn't outside a store there are ways to donate online.

Team Binghamton was challenged to raise $5,000 through an online red kettle website. To donate online click here.