CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Salvation Army is facing a serious shortages of bell ringers for their Red Kettle fundraising this holiday season -- a shortage the Coastal Bend is seeing, too.
"The Salvation Army touch lives," said bell ringer Tyrone Williams. "They have helped many families and friends of mine. So every year I make the time to give back."
Williams has been volunteering with the Salvation Army for the past few years.
And he's not the only one who feels the Army's work is important.
"My dad was able to change his life. He went from suffering alcoholism to being sober. He was able to get a full time job and he started to commit himself to volunteering with the Army," according to youth pastor Jesse Long. "And through that he kind of found a purpose in his life and he passed that onto me."
Long is a youth pastor, among his many hats for the Corpus Christi chapter.
He says the red kettle campaign is critical.
"In our shelter here, the bell ringing, we're able to feed people," he said. "We're able to keep people housed. We're able to provide them with blankets and towels and everything else."
The Salvation Army looks for people to ring the bells at their red kettles every season. And this year is no exception.
"Corpus is a huge city so we have a ton of spots that we need to fill," said the Salvation Army's Abbie Cieselik. "We do have some people that were hired to work but we love our volunteers. We're always looking for volunteers."
The Salvation Army needs at least 90 people a day to cover the two-hour shifts at each of their more than 30 kettles throughout the city.
With schedules, and emergencies, they can lose the service of many volunteers each day.
Tyrone, who comes from the Virgin Islands, says sometimes the Salvation Army are the only ones to help.
"They do a generous job not only in Corpus Christi but worldwide. When there's disaster, they're on the front line. They step up."
To volunteer your time or make a donation, call (361) 356-3624.