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Army veteran finds joy as Salvation Army bell ringer

Salvation Army red kettle attended to by a bell ringer, Kroger supermarket (Dwight Burdette/WikiCommons)

After serving his country, Kenneth Owens is still giving back to his community by being a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

“I’m out here every day and I plan on being out here on Christmas,” said Owens, who served in the U.S. Army. “I like doing this because I like to bring cheer while helping others.”

For more than 100 years, the Red Kettle campaign has helped support those in need, and not just during the holidays. Donations help provide toys for kids, shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, services for the young and old, and countless other programs throughout the year, according to a Salvation Army news release.

Last year The Salvation Army of Meridian raised $72,141, allowing it to serve 3,142 people 21,302 meals and 11,409 nights of shelter. The goal this year is $130,000.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional kettles may still be found at some stores, but the numbers have significantly decreased, according to the agency. Donations can be made at the register during checkout at local stores, and online donations can be given at MeridianKettle.org.

“Kettle season is The Salvation Army’s largest annual campaign,” said Meridian Corps Officer. Lt. Tamara Robb. “Funds received this season make or break our ability to fund our programs.”

Robb said much of the agency’s mission would not be possible without the help of people like Owens, who walks from his home on 26th Ave. to Sam’s Club in Meridian to ring his bell.

“I make it enjoyable,” Owens said.” I add a little spice to it and sometimes I might sing.”

“It makes you feel good,” Owens added. “We are here to help people. That’s one of the things we’ve been put on this earth to do.”

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(c) 2020 The Meridian Star

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