Red Kettle volunteers young and old explain why they ring bells

Dec 14, 2022

The Salvation Army’s 2022 Red Kettle Campaign is in full swing, with thousands of volunteers braving the cold and snow to ring bells outside of storefronts across the Twin Cities. Sign up to ring.

These volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are over-the-road truck drivers. Others are friends who enjoy doing good together, or people who were once helped by The Salvation Army, or youth who want to make an impact – including the Lakeville North Bantam B1 boys hockey team (pictured), who rang Dec. 8 at their local Fleet Farm. 

Still other bell ringers are local leaders or celebrities, including Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn, who supports The Salvation Army because he once struggled and wants to give back (learn more about K.J.’s life story).

(If you’d like to ring with K.J., sign up for a chance to join him at the kettles on Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 6–7 p.m. at Scheels in Eden Prairie.)

All of our kettle volunteers share two things in common: 1. They love spreading joy. 2. They support The Salvation Army’s mission to provide food, shelter and care for local people in need.  

Below, local Red Kettle volunteers young and old explain more about why they ring bells for The Salvation Army. 

Jan and Joan

Jan Albertson (pictured, left) and Joan Ferry (right) have been volunteering at the Red Kettles together for seven years. Their first-ever bell ringing shift took place in 2015 at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. After that, they were hooked. 

“We loved the adventure of taking the train into the city, ringing, having lunch, shopping, and taking the last train home,” said Jan, a retired music teacher and business owner. 

In 2017, Joan – a retired financial analyst – made Christmas tree costumes for the pair to wear every time they ring bells together. This year they donned the costumes while ringing at County Market in Andover, where they danced and played Christmas music. 

“People were generous and appreciated our efforts,” Jan said. “Many said they gave because we put so much effort into our ringing costumes.”

The friends have lots in common: Both are breast cancer survivors. Both have five grandchildren. Both are in their 70s. 

And both love to ring bells for The Salvation Army.

“We love the smiling faces and friendly people,” Jan said. 

Rico Nevotion

Volunteer bell ringer Rico Nevotion is a busy man. In addition to working as a local radio personality for KMOJ-FM, he is an actor and R&B Artist who has opened for superstars such as Celine Deon and Beyoncé. 

No matter how crazy his schedule gets, he’s never too busy to help The Salvation Army.

“I will always make time to give back,” he said, while bell ringing at a local Cub grocery store Dec. 3. 

Rico also participated in our Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event last summer, which raised money for Salvation Army housing and homelessness-prevention programs. He loves to support The Salvation Army because he experienced homelessness as a teen and wants to help other youth experiencing hardship.  

“I know the feeling of being without,” Rico said. “Connecting with amazing organizations like The Salvation Army brings me joy.” 

Brookdale Seniors

A group of seniors from Brookdale Senior Living took to the Red Kettles Dec. 5 at a Cub grocery store in Edina. It was their first time ringing together, and it probably won’t their last. 

“It was fun to dance and bring Christmas cheer to everyone we met,” said group organizer Jenna Leech. “One of our ringers once lived (in Salvation Army housing), so this hit on a personal level.”

The group was recruited to ring by their building’s Life Enrichment Team, which aims to improve the lives of people both inside and outside the walls of the housing facility.

“Our residents are beyond charitable and they love donating to charities,” Jenna said. “We thought we should bring Christmas cheer, and sing carols, and raise awareness for such a great cause.”

The volunteers at Brookdale Senior Living encourage everybody to pick up a bell and ring at a Red Kettle – especially other first-timers like them. 

“No matter what age you are, you are able to bring a smile and enrich the lives of those you encounter on a daily basis,” Jenna said. “I hope we did just that.”

This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle

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