Whether you ignore them or drop money in their kettles, no holiday season would be complete without the bell ringers outside the local shopping centers.
Even as a devastating ice storm knocked out power in many parts of the Capital District, the bells continued to chime.
Spokeswoman for the Salvation Army Empire Division Mary Stronach said the bell ringers were out at shopping malls and local stores during the storm in all 48 of the upstate New York counties the division covers, trying to reach their individual goals and raise as much money as possible before the campaign ends right before Christmas Eve.
This is the last five days of bell ringing, and we still need volunteers throughout the area, Stronach said Thursday, Dec. 18. "Typically around the state during these last few days, sometimes it's quite difficult to get the bell ringers."
Stronach said many bell ringers volunteered in the wake of the winter storm that took place on Thursday, Dec. 11. Bell ringers can be seen from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the region.
"We're trying to reach our goals," she said.
Stronach said each county's Salvation Army corps has its own monetary goal for the bell ringers, based on the services it hopes to spend the money on.
"The money that is raised now is going to be used for various things throughout the year " everything from family budgeting, computer classes, music classes Each corps pretty much has its own services based on the needs that the community has," she said.
No representatives from Albany County or Saratoga County were available to provide the goal for their counties. However, in Schenectady County, the goal is to raise $100,000.
According to Major Jim Guest, who is spearheading the campaign in Schenectady County, as of Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Schenectady bell ringers had reached 90 percent of that goal.