CHARLOTTE, NC - Bells are ringing around the Queen City, as the Salvation Army's annual kettle bell campaign continues. But, this year there aren't as many bells, which means more empty kettles.
A shortage of volunteers is a struggle every year for the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, but more so this year than last. But not once, in more than a decade, has he let hardship keep him from ringing.
For 12 years Clifford Boyd has been ringing in donations for the Salvation Army.
"I get to meet people all over the world," said Boyd. "I never traveled all over the world, but I met people all over the world. And, it's fun."
And, apparently, nothing can stop Boyd from having fun. Not homelessness. Not even cancer.
Boyd just had surgery last week and he's already back out on the streets fulfilling his duties as a bell ringer.
"Nothing's going to stop me, if I can help it," said Boyd.
It's this kind of dedication and determination the Salvation Army looks for in all of its kettle workers. They are, after all, part of the organizations holiday bread and butter. But, unfortunately due to a lack of volunteers, the group is having to rely primarily on paid workers.
"We have about 65 locations out right now. On average we may have 10 or 12 that would be manned by volunteers. So not as many volunteers as we would like," said Major Larry Broome with the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte.
And this year, things are especially tight.
"Our kettles this year because of the difficulty of getting kettle workers is down about $10,000 compared to last year this time," Broome said.
That means less toys under the tree for kids in need, less funds for their shelter and year around programs and less money to pay kettle workers, like Boyd.
"They are paid as a part of those donations," said Broome. "That's how they get their income. So the more volunteers that we can have, the greater our net can be to help people."
They were able to help Boyd, who has little but continues to give everything.
"Believe in what you can do," said Boyd. "Do it, if you enjoy it."
There are only two big weekends left for the kettle campaign, which the Salvation Army is counting on for donations. And they could really use more volunteers to help them do it. If you're interested, you can easily register online at www.registertoring.org.