The Salvation Army prepares for the holiday season

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The holidays are a special season for The Salvation Army of Wichita Falls.

Preparations for the thanksgiving day meal are underway, and this is the time of year when The Salvation Army relies on volunteers in the community.

One of the most recognizable sounds of the holiday season come from The Salvation Army bell ringers. Some are volunteers and others are paid for the work, but they are all helping support a great cause.

“If it wasn’t for The Salvation Army, I wouldn’t even be having Thanksgiving dinner this year,” John Dawlearn, Red Kettle bell ringer, said.

Money, food and faith - those are a few of the reasons Dawlearn depends on The Salvation Army. Dawlearn has been a Red Kettle bell ringer for four years. It’s a job that keeps him above water and during the holidays, that means a lot.

“You don’t have the worries of where you’re gonna be. You know that you can show up there and sit down for a meal and even if it’s for an over an hour,” Dawlearn said.

Each holiday season, The Salvation Army sets a goal to raise $150,000. When they fall short, it impacts the programs they offer, which affects people like Dawlearn.

“If we don’t have the funding to do that, there’s less families we’ll be able to help. So it is a concern, especially coming out COVID, now we’re into what, our second year and people are still trying to get their homes together. So there’s not a lot of extra income, especially with inflation and all that’s taking place over the summertime,” Major Joe Burton, of the Salvation Army of Wichita Falls, said.

“I wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t for The Salvation Army. I do this each year. It helps me to get finances so that I can survive rest of the year,” Dawlearn said.

“Rent, utilities assistance, we’re always having people come in for that. Food, clothing, shelter, for their mortgages, people come to us looking to have assistance for that,” Burton said.

The Salvation Army will remain hopeful the community’s generosity will shine through this holiday season. Dawlearn said for him and the other Kettle Bell ringers, it’s about giving back no matter your circumstance.

“I’m standing here to try to make sure others have. Even if I was a rich man doing this for absolutely nothing every year, I would still be doing this,” Dawlearn said.

Burton said collaboration from those who donate money or give their time goes a long way.