Weather affecting local Red Kettle donations - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Weather affecting local Red Kettle donations

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INDIANAPOLIS -

"Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas," yelled Salvation Army bell ringer Anthony Turner as he stood outside the Walmart on Lafayette Road.

Compared to what the weather has been like in the past few weeks - the cold rain and 32-degree temperatures Turner worked in Saturday were a welcome change.

"It was some pretty blistering days out here," Turner said of the past few weeks.

"This weather right here, it's actually a blessing," he added.

A blessing that in turn, Turner believed, brought more people out Saturday afternoon to bless others with their donations.

"Merry Christmas. Thank You and God Bless You," Turner told a little girl who brought up her spare change to drop in the red kettle.

"When the weather's real bad, they don't want to stop because its cold and they don't have time to stop because it's so cold," Turner explained of peoples reluctance to give when the weather turns ugly.

That may be why red kettle donations across Central Indiana are down from last year at this time.

The Salvation Army's Goal for the Christmas season is 3.2 million dollars.

The organization said giving overall though is up 2 percent from last year at this time, just not at the kettles.

"They run right in the store and run right to their cars," said Turner of the people heading into the store.

"People don't want to stop when they don't have time cause they be cold," he added.

Another factor, Thanksgiving came later than usual this year and bell ringers traditionally don't start until the day after Thanksgiving.

On Saturday though, Turner was happy with the weather and the number of people stopping by the red kettle.

"There's a lot more people out today then was out those bitter cold days," he explained.

Turner was right there to welcome them, ringing his bell and shouting the same greeting.

"Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas," he yelled.

"It gets their attention," he explained.

They stopped, opened their wallets or purses and gave what they had.

"There's some people that come here Monday and then they'll come back Friday and they'll give again," said Turner.

The ones who do, he said, are often a surprise.

"It is a lot of people that give and can't give, but they still give," said Turner.

"It is a lot of caring people in the United States because I couldn't imagine how many people give that give every day," he added.

Just seeing it first-hand, is a gift itself to Turner.

"It' 's a wonderful feeling to know that I'm here helping people," he said.

Most of those people, Turner will never meet. He knows they are out there though.

So he keeps ringing his bell and will continue right through Christmas, no matter what the weather does.

To find a volunteer opportunity to ring a bell near you, go to registertoring.com

You can put in your zip code and you'll get locations near you where you can ring a bell for a few hours.

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