Panhandlers Are Posing As Salvation Army Bell Ringers At El Paso Area Stores
For over one hundred years, the Salvation Army has had volunteers with a red kettle ringing a bell in front of stores trying to raise money for the poor during the Christmas season.
Last year, the Red Kettle Campaign raised almost 300 thousand dollars for needy El Pasoans, money that was used to help provide over 60 thousand meals and over 27 thousand nights of shelter for the homeless. During the Christmas season, there can be up to 90 bell ringers throughout El Paso, but there are also panhandlers in parking lots of stores all over town telling shoppers they are with the Salvation Army and asking for donations.
Rose Lucero with the Salvation Army says here’s how you know you’re dealing with a real Salvation Army volunteer:
1. They are near their stand with their red kettle.
2. Bell ringers always wear an apron, they've always got a bell, they do not actively solicit a donation.
3. The most important thing to look for is the volunteer asking you to put your donation into the red kettle instead of handing them the money as you walk in.
All of the money raised by the Salvation Army in El Paso stays here, so it’s important to not give money to people in parking lots who say they are with the organization.