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WJAC 6 News - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Some stores across country ask bells to be silenced

You can't go shopping this time of year without hearing the sounds of the Salvation Army bell. Volunteers ring it, hoping to get shoppers to toss spare change into a red kettle for the charity. But across the country, some of the bells are being silenced.

The Salvation Army considers the bells a sign of hope to those who are struggling and in need, but the organization said not everyone sees the bells that way. In fact, it said some people find the bells annoying.

"We have over 400 families, senior citizens, grandparents who are raising children who have signed up for assistance this year," said Maj. Joseph Pawlowski, of the Johnstown Salvation Army.

That's about 1,500 people the Johnstown Salvation Army is planning to provide toys and meals for this Christmas season. It's something the organization said it just can't do without money raised through its Red Kettle Campaign.

Over the years though the kettles have dwindled as some big box stores developed no solicitation policies, many forming their own charities and others simply asking the Salvation Army to leave the bells behind.

"People don't like us ringing the bell in some of the places and they've given us a difficult time about it," said Pawlowski. "That bell is a sign to those in need that there is somebody out there that cares for them."

In Johnstown, the Salvation Army said it's fortunate to still be welcomed at several locations. 6 News found bell ringers on Wednesday outside of Ideal Market in Geistown and Big Lots in Richland Township. The workers were opening doors, giving well wishes and happily ringing the bells.

"That bell is a sign of hope. It's a sign of comfort," said Pawlowski. "It's a sign of someone who cares for me when I can't care for myself."

In Johnstown, the Salvation Army said its goal is to reach $150,000 by the end of the holiday season. Halfway through the campaign though, the organization has only reached about $32,000, less than a quarter of it's goal. But Pawloski said Wednesday, he's confident the region will pull the local chapter through like they have in years past.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times