The Duluth Salvation Army is facing a volunteer crisis as we head into the holiday season. If you compare the volunteer numbers this year with a normal year, the Salvation Army bell ringer volunteers are down 70%. It's at a crisis point because without the bell ringers, there's significantly less money coming in.

The Red Kettle Initiative is the biggest fundraising effort of the year. Without it being successful, the year-round programs and charitable work will be affected. Some of their programs include emergency assistance, hot lunch, their food shelf, medical food shelf, housing for the homeless, and offering youth sports and activities.

Organizers aren't sure why volunteers are down. It could have to do with the pandemic, weather, or some other force. Regardless of the reason, volunteers are desperately needed.

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If you or someone you know would like to volunteer, you can register online. You can also call the Duluth Salvation Army at 218-722-7934. Registering online is easy. You enter your zip code to find a bell location. Then you select a date, and you can then see available shifts. They are 2-hour shifts throughout the day.

The Red Kettle Initiative started this year with kettles out on November 13. The goal this year is to raise $220,000. So far $7,172.48 has been raised. They have 4,838 more available hours to be filled by volunteers across 18 locations. They do point out that 11 of them are inside, so you don't even have to brave the cold.

The Duluth Salvation Army also has updated us with numbers from the food & toy drive at Bentleyville. Over the weekend they've received 644 pounds of food and 124 toys.

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