Every year after Thanksgiving, a tradition continues all across several continents. It continues until Christmas Eve and bells and red buckets involved.

Yes, it is the bell ringing season for Salvation Army. The goal locally is to raise money in order to help those in Palo Pinto County who are needing a hand up.

In Palo Pinto County, specifically, volunteers ring bells and collect donations at Wal-Mart and Metro throughout the Christmas season. The donations received are utilized locally for those in need.

Salvation Army is readily recognized by most people as a good thing, especially in disasters. They are usually the first on the scene to help.

In 2018, $28,740.32 was collected locally in the buckets. As a result, Salvation Army was able to help 722 citizens in Palo Pinto County through October 2019.

The help consisted of aid with utilities that had a cut-off notice, emergency prescriptions that needed to be filled, some air conditioners purchased and school supplies provided for the annual Back-to-School Fair. Nine local students ages 10-12 were provided a weeklong camping trip at Camp Hoblitzel in Midlothian.

Palo Pinto County Salvation Army is made up entirely of local volunteers. It has a 15-member local board that meets several times a year and the unit is required to report all activities to the Dallas Salvation Army District Headquarters, along with all the banking records and receipts.

Bell ringers come from churches, businesses, families and any who wants to volunteer their time to stand at these locations and share a smile, a Christmas greeting, and those who are talented enough to make music and entertain.

All monies collected in the red kettles locally stays in Palo Pinto County to assist county residents. Salvation Army volunteers are available at Mineral Wells Center of Life on Tuesday and Thursday mornings serving people’s needs during the year, except on holidays.

To donate by mail, send it to Salvation Army, P.O. Box 861, Mineral Wells, TX 76068.

The local unit will again be in the upcoming Merry Wells Christmas parade, identifiable by the float with the big red kettle. Volunteers with buckets will accept coins or dollars as they stride alongside the float.

"Salvation Army wishes you all a beautiful, Spirit filled Christmas and thank you in advance for all that you contribute and make possible for your neighbors in need," read a statement from the local board. "As He says, love your neighbor as yourself. God bless you all."

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