Scant parking places and hordes of Christmas shoppers marked the beginning of the holiday season in Rolla on Friday — and so did the Salvation Army bellringers as they kicked-off the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign to the mindful tune of ringing bells.


Scant parking places and hordes of Christmas shoppers marked the beginning of the holiday season in Rolla on Friday — and so did the Salvation Army bellringers as they kicked-off the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign to the mindful tune of ringing bells.
One of the volunteer bellringers, Rose Marie Slawson, stood beside her red kettle outside the west door of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rolla, smiled at the shoppers as they came and went and sipped her complimentary hot coffee from McDonald’s Inside Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Slawson, also a volunteer for the Benevolent Office at the Rolla Salvation Army, said most of the philanthropic projects the Salvation Army provides to the community are funded by donations made by individuals as they pass the kettles.
Also a volunteer at the Benevolent Office at the Salvation Army, Slawson said the requests for assistance are increasing.
“This past year, we’ve had people come in and say they never thought they’d need help, but they do now,” Slawson said. “Things are so much more expensive than 30 years ago when I had kids.”
Salvation Army bellringing volunteers are scheduled to ring chimes in two-hour shifts.
“It’s really a lot of fun,” Slawson said. “But it can get cold, too.”
Slawson, who volunteered for two, two-hour shifts last year, suggested that bellringers dress in layers, so they can put on additional layers if they get cold, or take off a layer or two if they get warm.
“The hot coffee’s nice,” Slawson said.
Shift Manager Tim Tung, of the McDonald’s at Wal-Mart, said the restaurant provided a free, small coffee to the volunteer bellringers throughout the seasonal campaign.
Traci Brookshire, a member of the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army, said more volunteers were needed to help with the Red Kettle Campaign.
Brookshire, who also manages the scheduling for bellringers, said anyone who is interested in volunteering for the Red Kettle Campaign may contact her at 308-1000.