Salvation Army says volunteers are desperately needed this holiday season

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Salvation Army bell ringers and their red kettles are a holiday staple, in fact, many are outside local businesses right now, but this year even the Salvation Army needs a helping hand.

Officials say they desperately need volunteers this year. (WJHG/WECP)

Major Ed Binnix, the Commanding Officer for the Panama City Salvation Army said, "We need people to stand out there and ring the bell for us. We have locations, we have more locations than we had last year because so many of our locations were closed down because of the storm. But yet we're behind from last year because we can't get people to be out there ringing the bell."

Major Binnix says they have 19 locations between Pier Park and Callaway for bell ringers.

"The problem is the economy is really good and there's plenty of jobs out there,” said Binnix. “That's great for our community, great for our country, but it makes us struggle to find people to go out there and work."

Binnix says there are plenty of opportunities to sign up to volunteer by getting in touch with the local office by phone or online, he also says you can get paid to be a bell ringer.

"If they want to ring as a job they need to come up here and apply in person. I could probably hire 15 or 20 people tomorrow," said Binnix.

Officials say the money raised from the bell ringers is critical to the Salvation Army’s budget.

Binnix said, "It is not overstating it to say, if we have a bad Christmas fundraising year, we have a bad year."

To get in touch with the Salvation Army you can call at 850-769-5259 or click here for the online application.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.