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Ringing for Change

Salvation Army kettle ringers are a tradition...with a cause.

Bell ringers manning the red Salvation kettles at Giant Eagle in Avon Lake and Walmart in Avon are helping continue a tradition that dates back more than 120 years.

Bells started ringing in November this year, and will continue through the month.

In both cities, volunteers from organizations such as the Avon Lake Kiwanis Club, churches and idividuals partner with Community Resource Services and the Salvation Army, ring the bell each Christmas, encouraging shoppers to drop a donation into a one of the well-known red kettles.

Local volunteers are continuing the now-iconic tradition that started in the 1800s. According to the Salvation Army website, in 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry.

"During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome -- funding the project," the Salvation Army website said.

McFee, a former sailor, recalled Stage Landing, which sported a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot." Passers-by dropped in change. He placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street in with a sign that said "Keep the Pot Boiling."

 Read the full story of the kettle here.

This year, bell ringers will volunteer thousands of hours across the country and world, raising money to help others in need. Nationally, more than 4.5 million people are helped by the Salvation Army during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Locally, all kettle donations placed into the Giant Eagle kettle and Walmart kettle in Avon will be used to assist individuals and families in need in Avon and Avon Lake.

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