“Some businesses have called us saying they don’t want our kettles and bell ringers,” said Suzi Woodruff Lacey, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army of San Diego. “They don’t want the sound of the bell. They don’t want it to annoy their shoppers.”
Most of the businesses opting out from having kettle ringers outside their doors are in the North County area, according to Salvation Army.
A few years ago, Target was one of the first chain stores to say no to Salvation Army bell-ringers. Since then, the major chain store has found other ways to help, donating school supplies to the organization.
“What we’d like people to know is they can have an online red kettle, you can donate toys, you can donate food,” said Woodruff Lacey.
Salvation Army is $85,000 short on donations compared to last year, she said. Demand for help is at its highest.
Still for many, the holiday season is just not the same without the ringing bell.
“To me, ringing this bell means it’s that time of the year,” said Salvation Army kettle bell ringer Debbie Dale. She greets shoppers outside the Vons at Liberty Station during the holiday season.
“It’s a sign of hope that someone will be able to get a can of soup or get into a program that can help them succeed,” said Dale.