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Spirit of Christmas: Salvation Army seeks help ringing bells

Volunteer Judy Lee rings the bell for the Salvation Army Thursday as Bev Aultman stops to visit at Lueken’s North. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Carol Campbell recalls growing up poor, one of seven siblings, in International Falls.

The Salvation Army’s work then – providing transportation to a variety of activities – that laid the ground work decades later for her dedication to the nonprofit agency.

“I’ve seen their work,” Campbell, who later went on to serve as a Salvation Army minister in the 1960s and early 1970s, said Thursday. “I feel really strong that they do a lot of good.”

Now the Bemidji woman hopes others in the community will be moved to volunteer as bell ringers at several area locations for the Salvation Army as it continues its red kettle campaign.

Currently, the Salvation Army has numerous openings for bell ringers, including after 3 p.m. today and all day Saturday at the Paul Bunyan Mall. Addition locations – Lueken’s North and South, Marketplace Foods and Walmart – also need an infusion of cheerful ringers.

Carol Lauderbaugh, who along with Campbell’s husband, Gene, coordinates scheduling at the kettle locations.

“We don’t get any money if we just leave the bucket there,” Lauderbaugh said. “The ringers make the difference.”

Lauderbaugh said volunteers mean more money, which in turn means better funded programs locally.

“The more (money) that we have, the more programs we can do,” she said.

All of the money raised during the red kettle campaign during the holiday season stays in Beltrami County, helping fund emergency needs for meals, lodging, transportation, utility payments, prescription medications and fire and disaster victims. The money also helps pay for school supplies for the need.

“We have a lot of different times and places,” Lauderbaugh said.

Even beyond bell ringers, Carol Campbell is hoping for volunteers to help accept toy and coat gifts Dec. 8 at Wal-Mart, where a truck will be parked to accept donations.

Together, the women are hoping for Bemidji area volunteers to ring in donations.

Those interested in helping with the red kettle campaign can call Lauderbaugh at 333-4185 or Gene Campbell at 556-8048. Those willing to help with the Dec. 8 donation truck can call Carol Campbell at 556-0776.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104