A Salvation Army bell ringer who has been ringing for 35 years helps kick off this year’s Red Kettle campaign

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 9:30 PM EST
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Mercer County Salvation Army kicked off their 2023 Red Kettle Campaign Wednesday at the Mercer Mall. A Bluefield resident that has been helping the non-profit for 35 years was once again working to raise money and bring smiles to people’s faces.

Dorothy Lowe was waiting, bell in hand outside of the Hobby Lobby for 10 hours greeting people as they came and went, only stopping for the occasional bell ringing dance break.

“I enjoy working for them, it’s a joyful place to work. The people are nice to us and it’s to help the needy people,” Lowe said.

Lowe is not the only one in her family that comes out each year. Many of her family members sign up each year to stand in different locations around Mercer County. But this year Lowe says her daughter Takashia who would ring the bell with her will not be joining due to a health crisis.

“My daughter has cancer, and they almost pronounced her dead,” Lowe said holding back tears. “They told me she wouldn’t make it. But God came in and saved her and she’s doing really good now.”

Even though Lowe is still helping her daughter through her health journey she still finds time to work 10-hour days for a good cause.

One shopper who stopped to give money also joined in on a bell ringing dance break with Lowe. Lori Sexton who laughed and donated before entering the store said, “It’s wonderful. You can see that she has just a wonderful, wonderful spirit and its just wonderful to come out and see somebody that’s very happy, uplifting and makes you smile.”

“It’s because of our volunteers that we are so successful in meeting the needs of this community,” said Mercer County Salvation Army Sgt. Melissa White. “When people see their friends and neighbors out there ringing the bell including their church members, their club members, it makes them and compels them to give again.”

White says it doesn’t matter if you are willing to give a lot or a little. “We are appreciative of anything we get because every little bit helps. Every bit of change creates change.”

This is the organization’s largest fundraiser that is put on each year. Along with helping provide Christmas gifts to children, the money raised also goes toward feeding and helping families in need throughout the year.

Mercer Mall is the first of many locations that the Salvation Army Red Kettles will be at. Soon Grant’s Supermarkets, Walmart, Roses and others will join that list.

The Salvation Army in Mercer County welcomes anyone to volunteer for the Red Kettle and Angel Tree programs though the holiday season.

Since there is a demand for bell ringers in the area the organization is also offering jobs to people that fill out an application.

The Red Kettle campaign runs through December 24.