Marilyn Stevens ringing the bell with Santa in 2015. Courtesy photo
Bells Are Ringing in Los Alamos!
Anyone stepping foot in Smith’s in Los Alamos or White Rock during the holiday season has seen a red-clad volunteer standing in the entryway, ringing a bell and requesting donations for the Salvation Army.
What may not be known is that all of the money raised by these bell ringers stays in Los Alamos.
Each season of bell-ringing yields $12,000 to $15,000; this money is designated for Self Help, Inc., which uses the funds to help local families struggling with basic needs such as food, medical care and housing. Self Help receives requests for assistance from families in need, and coordinates with landlords, the utility company, the hospital, and other vendors to make sure needs are met.
Since Self Help is an independent nonprofit, the money given through the Salvation Army does not go to meeting overhead or administrative costs of the organization—it goes directly to helping neighbors right here in Los Alamos County.
A Call to Action
For the 2018 season, volunteers are needed to ring bells in two hour shifts Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Nov. 23 to Dec. 23. To participate in this joyful and low-commitment volunteer opportunity, email Self Help at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505.662.4666.
In past years, musical and theater groups also have been a festive addition to the fundraising effort. Performers are invited to volunteer their talents during any shifts—the more the merrier. To volunteer, email Self Help at email@example.com or call 505.662.4666.
About Self Help, Inc.
Self Help is a Los Alamos-based community social service nonprofit dedicated to helping northern New Mexicans in need since 1969. Self Help provides financial assistance for basic needs, as well as seed grants for education and entrepreneurship, with the goal of helping families become self-reliant. We also operate the Northern New Mexico 211 line, providing information and referrals to people looking for social services. In 2017, Self Help assisted 400 families directly through small grants, and another 1100 with information, consultations, and referrals. Self Help depends on many funding sources and volunteers, and offers our community an easy way to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need.
About the Salvation Army
William Booth and Catherine Booth founded The Salvation Army in 1865 as a means to help the suffering souls throughout London. They served those who were not willing or able to attend – or even welcomed into – a traditional churches/charities. Their mission was to serve the most destitute, and the ministry grew and became a worldwide organization. Each year, thanks to generous donations, The Salvation Army serves nearly 30 million Americans – or one person every second – from a variety of backgrounds. People receive assistance according to their need and each community’s capacity to help – regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.