PADUCAH, Ky -
With a smile on her face and a bell in her hand, Mable Thomas makes the most of her time at Paducah's southside Kroger. This is her second year as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army - the same agency that first helped her 15 years ago.
"Sometime I needed food and clothes. I got a voucher," she said.
Salvation Army Cpt. Joe Crawford said people like Thomas are rare. "This year, we definitely need volunteers. Last year was very much a down year. We're well under budget last year and it hurt us significantly," he told Local 6.
Crawford estimates the kettles will bring in $130,000 for next year's $430,000 expected budget, but without the bell ringers and your donations, that won't happen.
Crawford said there are about 400 bell ringer hours scheduled between now and Christmas throughout McCracken County's 21 locations. But more than half of the time slots aren't filled.
"Sometimes we have to resort to hiring people to fill those spots. We can't get volunteers," Crawford told Local 6.
For Thomas, who was once helped by the Salvation Army, time is the biggest gift she can give because she says she's thankful for the time given to her. "I'm making a difference and I thank God I can do that," Thomas said.