Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Michael Gorr rings at Mall of America

St. Paul man calls bell ringing ‘a dream come true’

Added on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Story and photos by Craig Dirkes, writer/photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division

Nobody loves The Salvation Army’s red kettles more than Michael Gorr.

Bell ringing “is a dream come true,” the St. Paul resident said. “I enjoy it so much. So very much.”

Nobody rings for more hours, either. This Christmas season, Gorr is scheduled to ring for 284 hours – more than any other volunteer ringer in the Twin Cities. He can be found at Mall of America® every weekday and Saturday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m., at the East Broadway entrance on Skyway Level 3.

Gorr has been ringing in the same spot for the past four years. He enjoys bell ringing because the money he raises helps people. He lives with cerebral palsy and is otherwise limited in the number of ways he can serve.

Thankfully, ringing a bell does not pose a problem.

“I like bell ringing because it helps little children to get Christmas presents,” Gorr said. “It helps parents who can’t afford to buy things for their kids.”

Gorr’s efforts have raised thousands of dollars for The Salvation Army. His most lucrative year was 2015, when he rang for 246 hours and raised more than $9,600. He wants to beat that total this Christmas season, and with $3,500 raised so far, he just might get there.

Michael Gorr rings at Mall of America“Every day when I leave Mall of America, my kettle is full,” he said proudly.

Gorr became hooked on ringing on a wintry day about six years ago. That afternoon, he saw an unstaffed kettle with a bell and apron next to it. Without thinking, he grabbed the bell and started ringing.

“I put on the apron, and away I went,” added Gore, who has since received two specially-engraved bells from The Salvation Army as a thank you for his service.

Gorr hopes that his positive attitude, appreciation for life, and giving heart will inspire others to take up a bell and volunteer at a kettle.

“Let all the bell ringers know that they are important,” Gorr said. “When they are ringing, they are helping out so many people.”

Poverty is an everyday battle. People experiencing poverty are not without hope – their lives are just harder than they should be. The Salvation Army is helping to make their lives a little easier, thanks to your gifts of time and money. Join us in the fight for good by giving online or donating at a red kettle, becoming a volunteer bell ringer, or recruiting your own army as a fundraiser on Learn more about how The Salvation Army fights poverty in your community.