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Salvation Army offers new ways to give

November 3, 2017 GMT

La PORTE — November is here and that means all eyes are on Christmas. As shoppers take to the stores, the seasonal tradition of hearing the Salvation Army’s ringing bells is nearly upon us as the red kettles are set to make their return on Nov. 10.

But in a modern world of credit cards and Apple Pay, less and less people have change in their pockets or dollars in their wallet to hand over to the bell ringers.

“In years past we mainly promoted our kettle goal, but kettles can’t be our only focus in giving,” said Captain Justin Windell of La Porte’s Salvation Army. Their goal this year focused on combined donations from all sources.

The holiday season is the Salvation Army’s biggest time of assisting, and also their most important time for fundraising. Helping more people than any other time of the year during the Christmas season, the Salvation Army also depends on the efforts of donations raised during this time to support them through spring, summer and fall as their work never ends.

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“We help people all year long and the fundraising we do in these six weeks sets us up for success for the rest of the year,” Windell said.

With the red kettles being a major point of fundraising, Windell stressed there are other ways to give as well in this age of changeless pockets and cell phones tied to credit/debit cards. Along with their Christmas mailing donation route, 21st century gift givers can still give toward the cause when they hear those ringings bells without having a dime in their pocket — they just need a cell phone in there instead.

Text SALP, in all capital letters, to 41444 and a link will be sent back to your phone which you can click on and select a variety of donation options including one-time gifts or even setting up monthly donations in whatever amount you’d like.

“It’s secure,” Windell promised for those uneasy about online transactions.

While this option allows for even those without cash on them to donate, Windell says not to worry about this leading to the end of red kettles.

“We still want to be part of the tradition of the season, of people hearing the bells,” he said, adding kettles are not going anywhere.

The Salvation Army is hoping the public will be part of the tradition as volunteers for bell ringers are now being sought. Kettles will be manned outside La Porte locations from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m Monday through Saturday.

Red kettles will be set up outside Al’s, the post office, Kabelin’s Ace West and Kroger starting Nov. 10 and outside Walmart and Walgreens following Thanksgiving.

“We’re so thankful to the stores that have us. We are guests there — they don’t have to let us ring,” Windell said. “We’re so appreciative of the ones who allow us to do that.”

Paid ringing positions are also available as Windell stated there are times throughout the day which are hard to find volunteers for. He also added he sees the paid ringing positions as a form of service, providing a job to someone for six weeks and allowing them to provide for their family through work.