Salvation Army bell ringers ring in donation season

Hear the bells? You will soon. Those red Salvation Army donation kettles -- complete with bell-ringing attendants -- started collecting donations Thursday in Miami-Dade. Soon, they will be at 200 sites countywide, said Maj. Fernando Martinez, the Salvation Army's area commander for Miami-Dade.

Starting Monday, the kettles will be stationed at 15 grocery stores throughout Broward County. Ten more will follow outside Wal-Mart stores the day after Thanksgiving.

''Merry Christmas!'' said Capt. Tom Louden, area commander for the Salvation Army in Broward, to a room full of bell-ringers-in-training this week in Fort Lauderdale. ``Can you believe that it's Christmas time already?''

The nearly 20 men and women got a lesson in setting up stands, attaching signs, greeting donors and giving thanks.

''You want to make them happy about donating to the Salvation Army,'' said Nichole Lynn, a Salvation Army captain.

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