The Rice County Salvation Army Unit is in desperate need of bell ringers this holiday season.  Some churches have stepped up to the plate, but frankly very few, I know my fellow Lions have participated.  Saturday evening I had no game to call, so rather than sit home and twiddle my thumbs or go to a movie I can see anytime, I decided to go to Lonsdale and ring the bell.  Two hours is all the commitment they ask and Bell Ringing Coordinator Gina Little told KDHL AM Minnesota listeners Friday they were able to reach their $50,000 goal last year in large part by filling most of the bell ringing time slots.  67 percent of the slots were filled last year and so far it's less than 50 percent this year. EVERY church in Faribault, EVERY church in Northfield and EVERY church in Lonsdale should take some time slots.  Faribault and Lonsdale Fire Departments have taken some time, where's Northfield ?  Two hours isn't very long and I did enjoy my stint in Lonsdale.  I'll ring again in Faribault on Christmas Eve.  It's become a tradition for me, because I don't have any family and believe holidays are for families. In my mind, my ringing means somebody with a family doesn't have to on Christmas Eve. It's really not a big deal.  I enjoyed visiting with various folks, little kids were the most fun to see put their change in the kettle.  One young man emptied ALL the change from his coin holder in his beat up SUV, a gentleman about my age handed me a 20 dollar bill.  ALL gifts are treasured by the Salvation Army and all will be put to good use.  80 percent stays in Rice County and the remainder will go toward any national disaster assistance.  Little told us Friday approximately $10,000 was used last year so people wouldn't have to spend cold nights sleeping in autos or other places.  She noted they confirm EVERY story.  People don't just get money handed to them.  This Christmas season please contact the Rice County Salvation Army Unit and volunteer to ring for a two hour time frame.  Take your kids and grandkids, sing songs or play instruments and spread the joy of Christmas.  If I can do it, anybody can.  I had a gentleman Friday night say to me how appreciative he was that I was ringing and he said, "I could never do that because it's two hours of my life I will NEVER get back!"  I thought about that as he drove away and he is right, I'll never get those two hours back, but think of the hours we waste every single day ?  I do not feel those hours were wasted.  Anytime you are able to help others, in whatever way possible, it is not a waste.  You and I could just as easily need the services of the Salvation Army some day.  A tornado hits town or a flood ?  Wouldn't we like them to have the resources to help us ?  The population estimate for Rice County is just over 66 thousand people in 2014.  One dollar per person blows the $51,000 goal out of the water.  Yes that number includes prisoners in Faribault and college students in Northfield. But, I hope you get my point. As of Friday the Rice County Unit was at 10 percent of their goal with only a few weeks to go.  I know we can do this because it was done last year, all we really need is to fill those bell ringing slots because most of the people I saw Friday night did drop something in the kettle.  I would say over 90 percent of people put something in.  I know the people of Rice County have generous hearts and kind souls.  Just contact Gina and let her know when you want to ring and where and they will get the bell there.  ANYTIME!  They used to just ring on weekends, but Gina told us they will accommodate people when they want to ring during the week also.  In Faribault e-mail faribaultbellringer@gmail.com in Lonsdale lonsdalebellringer@gmail.com and Northfield northfieldbellringer@gmail.com, Driving home Friday I didn't feel like I wasted two hours of my life,  I felt good about doing something I'm able to do.  I can't place lots of money in the kettle, but I can sure ring a bell and greet folks and thank them for their gifts.  I even said Merry Christmas to people who didn't place anything in the kettle because that is what Christmas is about. I really felt good when my head hit the pillow Friday night and you will too.

My First Donor in Lonsdale !