By giving just two to four hours of their time, residents can make a direct impact on the local Salvation Army programs.

Having a bell ringer at a kettle usually results in more money raised to help those in need in the community. The Madison area bell-ringing season begins in mid-November on any Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve.

Many aspects of this year's annual Red Kettle Campaign have been adjusted due to the pandemic. The bell ringers will be wearing masks and will have hand sanitizer to sanitize the bells and kettles.

For now, the plan is to have bell ringers stationed at each kettle as much as possible, but those plans may change if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase.

Those donating can choose between the standard method of dropping cash, coins and checks into the kettles. New this year will be the availability for donors to scan a QR code with their cell phones to bring up various options for donating electronically, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and credit cards.

While the pandemic has forced the Salvation Army to make some changes, the virus has also caused the demand for charitable giving to skyrocket. The local chapter has granted just under $8,500 of financial assistance to 104 families so far this year, to people ranging in age from 3 months to 85 years old.

While the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is conducted nationwide each Christmas season, the funds raised in Lake County will benefit those within the county.

In Madison, the kettles with bell ringers can be found outside Sunshine Foods and Lewis Drug.

To sign up to ring the bells, contact Marty Warns at 605-480-1606 or