Salvation Army loses 2 bell-ringing stations

Elkhart Rotary member Bill Templin volunteers as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army of Elkhart.

ELKHART — The Salvation Army of Elkhart will be fighting for funds this season as two of its most prominent bell-ringing storefronts have decided not to allow the nonprofit at their locations.

“In a way, it’s a part of the challenging trend that the Salvation Army has been seeing over the years as there is more of a reservation – to have less outside,” Elkhart Capt. Shawn DeBaar said.

The two unnamed locations generated nearly $10,000 last year and have been long-standing stations for the bell ringers, he said. 

“It’s been a little bit of a challenge,” DeBaar said. “Finding another retail location equivalent to the ones we lost is not going to be a feasible option.”

The Salvation Army found out in the first week of November that it would not be permitted to return to the locations this season.

Unlike other locations where bell ringers serve, these two had allowed bell ringers to start at the beginning of November. Most do not allow bell ringers until after Thanksgiving.

November and December are critical to the Salvation Army’s funding. The organization raises half of its annual budget, nearly $500,000, in these two months alone, and about $100,000 of it historically has come directly from kettles watched by bell ringers.

“The challenge for us is, although the bell ringers only make up about a fifth of our volunteers, they’re the most visible,” DeBaar said.

Even when people do not donate to kettles watched by the bell ringers, the volunteers encourage or remind the public to donate by mail or online.

“We’re really relying on our community to help us make this up,” he said. “We’re hoping to be able to still see those dollars realized so that we can still serve people as expected.”

During the holiday season, the Salvation Army spends a substantial amount of its budget – events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at the Matterhorn for the public, and to help those in need with utility and grocery bills.

In addition, nearly 400 families have already signed up for Christmas assistance, which provides clothing and toys for children who otherwise might not receive a Christmas present.

More are expected to sign up at the end of the month.

DeBaar and the Salvation Army are asking residents to continue to donate, even though the organization’s visibility will be decreased.

DeBaar said to consider throwing a couple extra dollars into kettles at other locations or donate through other avenues.

People can donate online or get more information at

(5) comments


What are the names of the two businesses? I would be willing to call their managers and express my displeasure at their decision.

Tim Stewart

Back in 1982, my house burnt, leaving me with only what I was wearing, and driving. The S.A. gave me a few things they had, and gave me a voucher from Montgomery Ward. I'll NEVER forget that. Present day... I rarely carry cash. I use debit / credit. But when I get "snarky" looks, and snide comments, for not putting money in yet ANOTHER red kettle, it rather sours me from this particular donation. I give a little to most all worthwhile charities. Every little bit helps. I get that. I do. But shouldn't be "guilted" into a donation.


The 2 business mentioned are only interested in having customers focus on spending money, and not have them distracted by the needs of many. Because they do not care. It appears none of these business have done anything but allowing a good organization to seek help for the helpless. And of course we do not want their names publishes, because some of us who care would stop shopping there. Not just in those few weeks where everybody acts caring, all the time, because real people care all the time, not just around the holidays. What a terrible place this is.


I agree completely and will make a larger than usual donation this year. I ask everybody who can to join me.


Why is this a secret? Why run a story where the facts are hidden. Must be a very large retailer. I think I have an idea. I stopped shopping there years ago. Too bad the Truth has little or No fortitude!

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