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BLESSING OF THE BELLS: Salvation Army ready for annual Red Kettle campaign, seeking volunteers

The Salvation Army of San Marcos and Hays County will soon fill the air with the sound of bells as the annual Red Kettle Campaign begins.

Salvation Army volunteers will start ringing the bells on Friday with the official campaign running from November 29 until Christmas Eve.

Lisa Cruz, director of the Salvation Army service center in San Marcos, said the hope is to raise $60,000 this year.

“This is how we get our funds to maintain emergency programs throughout the year,” Cruz said, noting that the Salvation Army provides utility assistance, transportation assistance, prescription materials, birth certificates and IDs as well as her weekly pantry on Thursdays. .

The Salvation Army of San Marcos and Hays County held its annual bell blessing event on Tuesday, marking the unofficial kickoff of this year’s Red Kettle campaign.

Brother Jim Lanning, who led the prayer at Tuesday’s ceremony, emphasized the importance of volunteering to ring the bells.

“All over the world you see this little guy here,” Lanning said, pointing to a red Salvation Army kettle. “But that’s not enough. You’ve got to have somebody there. You’ve got to have somebody who represents the people. And, what you’re doing of course represents Jesus. That’s who you really represent.

The Salvation Army is “an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. His message is based on the Bible. His ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination,” according to its website.

Volunteers will ring bells at Walmart stores in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda. Red kettles will also be at Sam’s Club, Hobby Lobby and JCPenny’s in San Marcos as well as Cabela’s in Buda and Brookshire Brothers in Wimberley.

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson thanked everyone who volunteered for The Salvation Army at Tuesday’s event.

“I’m going to register to ring. I ring most years,” Hughson said. “So you all know we have a lot of needs in our community. So thank you for what you are doing and seeing how well we can meet that need and how much we can help people.

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers for two hour shifts who will volunteer throughout the day. The ringing of the bells will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. All personal protective equipment will be provided by The Salvation Army. The organization invites volunteers to come with family, friends, work groups, religious groups, community groups or university groups.

To volunteer, contact Kettle coordinator Debby Ruiz at 737-213-6314, or visit

“Really, we need volunteers — volunteer bell ringers,” Cruz said. “This is the only time a year that we have the chance to win funds to help us throughout the year for these programs.”