The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Salvation Army seeking ringers


December 11, 2019

CLOVIS — Manning doorways and storefronts around town, the Salvation Army bell ringers are a staple of the holiday season — ringing, singing and playing instruments to encourage donations for their cause.

In Clovis, volunteers greet holiday shoppers during the month leading up to Christmas Day and are raising money to help families during the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year.

With two weeks left until the end of their fundraising period, Salvation Army lieutenants Miguel and Maria Ibarra are seeking as many volunteers as they can get to ring the bells this year, especially during the weekday.

The majority of volunteers tend to sign up for weekend shifts, but there are timeslots open every day until Christmas Eve from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“I don’t want to say this is our only fundraiser because some places the Salvation Army does more throughout the year, but this is the big one,” Miguel Ibarra said. “The main purpose is to provide funds for our programs and give us the ability to help families throughout the year.”

The Salvation Army sets up donation kettles at many storefronts around town, including Albertsons, Walmart, Walgreens, Hobby Lobby, Lowes and others.

Shifts are a minimum of two hours, but volunteers are welcome to put in more time.

Volunteers can sign up individually, as a group or even as an organization or business through the Adopt A Kettle program. Businesses that take the time to volunteer are welcome to bring a sign to put on display while they man one of the locations.

Musically inclined volunteers are encouraged to bring an instrument to play or sing for shoppers.

Wayne Petner of Two Horse Construction and his crew volunteered this year and raised $900, more than any other group so far, according to the Ibarras.

“We had a lot of fun and most of the people who worked for us came out with their families,” Petner said. “I did not think we’d raise that much money.”

Petner said time is often precious in the construction business, but he was pleasantly surprised when his workers committed to helping out. He plans to volunteer again next year to try and beat his current record and encourages any other businesses to do the same.

Many Salvation Army chapters hire bell ringers, but the local chapter is working to make their fundraising entirely volunteer-based from this year forward to help build up the local program, encourage more donations and lower operating costs.

Maria Ibarra said that while the Salvation Army is a national group, each chapter is responsible for building itself up within its respective community. She hopes that by getting more volunteers and getting out in the community she can help Clovis residents make the local chapter their own.

“My husband and I are doing the most we can to encourage people to come out and help people in the community,” Maria Ibarra said. “December is the big month for us, but I want to see this building stay up and be doing something. There are plenty of chapters in other cities that have closed down and now their buildings are empty.”

The Ibarras have been working to renovate the local chapter’s building and organize more events throughout the year. Recently they partnered with Lighthouse Mission to help during their community Thanksgiving dinner and are hoping to establish similar partnerships in the future.

During the holiday season, some of the money goes to purchase food, clothes, and gifts for families in need. The Ibarras said there are roughly 300 families and 500 children that will receive holiday gifts from the local chapter this Friday and Saturday at the Salvation Army’s office in Clovis.

“We had a bit of a chaotic experience in the past with everyone coming in at once so instead we’ve scheduled it so families come over the course of two days,” Miguel Ibarra said.

During the summer, some of the money goes to various summer camps for men, women, youth and families and some is spent helping families in need pay bills or purchase necessities like food and clothes during the year.

As a part of this year’s fundraising efforts, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder of the Salvation Army issued a challenge to all chapters in the West territory to compete this Friday and see who can raise the most money from noon to 4 p.m. The local chapter doesn’t expect to win any prizes, but at least hopes to bring in more volunteers for the challenge.

To volunteer with the local chapter you can sign up through United Way of Eastern New Mexico, call Maria Ibarra at 503-881-8621 or visit the Salvation Army office at 317 E. Second St. in Clovis.


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