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Bell Ringers Brave Brutal Cold

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Countless songs have been written about bells ringing at Christmas time, and Salvation Army bell ringers have become a holiday tradition.

It's been an incredible challenge to stay warm this week, and bell ringers have been doing their best, out there on the front lines.

It's a familiar sound that signals Christmas to many of us: Bell ringers collecting money for the local Salvation Army.
Carrol Staggs has been ringing bells at Christmas time for 28 years, and he has some tricks for staying warm when it's bitterly cold.

Staggs says, "I wear plenty of shirts, I wear a couple of sweatshirts and some insulated britches underneath, some sweat pants. I wear these packs with Thinsulate, they help keep my feet warm."

This is the biggest fundraiser for the Salvation Army. Last year, Salvation Army bell ringers collected $130 million nationwide. Here in Twin Falls, they raised just over $100,000 last year. But when temperatures drop, so do the contributions.

Capt. Marcos Marquez with the Twin Falls Salvation Army says, "One of the things about the cold is that our contributions also drop significantly. People want to stay home. Or if they come shopping, they're running in to get out of the cold. And then they're sprinting out to get back to their cars, so we just don't make as much on those cold days."

Sometimes donors buy bell ringers cups of hot chocolate or coffee to help keep them warm when it's cold outside. It's a small act of kindness that's greatly appreciated. Staggs explains it takes a healthy body to fight off winter colds and other conditions.

Staggs says, "I've had a cold for 15 days, I was having a lot of trouble. I'm doing better now."

So he's braving the cold winter temperatures all in an effort to give back. Staggs keeps ringing his bell year after year because he enjoys seeing people and talking to them again and again.

December 11, 2013.


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