The bells will soon be ringing, but in a few areas across Santa Rosa County the Salvation Army Kettle Drive is in full swing.



"We started the drive back on Nov. 10 and we are at a few locations already in Pace and Milton," said Sgt. Rogers Windell, head of the Santa Rosa and Escambia offices of the Salvation Army. "Everything will go into full swing the day after Thanksgiving.



"Right now we are at places like K-Mart, Winn Dixie in Pace and Milton, as well as Publix as people are doing their shopping in preparation for Thanksgiving."



While the drive is on going, one thing the drive is always in need of is volunteers.



"We welcome people to call us and offer to volunteer in two hour blocks as a bell ringer," Windell said. "All they have to do is contact our volunteer coordinator and where they would like to work, if they have a preference.



"We will take care of the rest when it comes to getting you with what you need."



Once again this year the goal of the kettle drive is $300,000, which is the same as in 2011.



"We missed our goal by about $8,000 last year," Windell said. "We didn't want to go after Christmas because we probably would have spent as much as we would have raised to make up that amount.



"This year we are hoping to do better as we listen to the news and hear talk of more employment and jobs."



One reason volunteers are necessary is the Salvation Army sets up at 42 different locations across the two county area and without volunteers it can get quite expensive as the organization has to hire workers.



"We have had a training session for those who were interested in being day laborers for us and had 126 at orientation training," Windell said. "Each day we take the first how ever many we need to man the kettles and try to be out there starting around 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.



"These positions are on a first come first serve basis."



Besides the training the Salvation Army has taken great care to make sure each bell ringer is easily identifiable with the Salvation Army by asking them to wear black pants, white shirt, and getting each of them a photo identification card.



Groups and civic organizations that would like to volunteer can take a location and break the day up into shifts and have their group identified on the tripod, which holds the kettle.



The Salvation Army has even developed a way to help you realize how you helped.



"Inside each kettle there is a slip of paper you can fill out and we will notify you of how much you raise during your shift," Windell said.



If you or your organization would like to volunteer you can contact the Salvation Army at 432-1501.