Jeanean Castle, Salvation Army director of development for Oklahoma, Canadian and Cleveland counties, said the telephone rang 5,000 times in one hour on a recent day. The calls were from people needing utility or Christmas assistance.
The 2011 Red Kettle campaign raised $650,000, Castle said. Salvation Army officials hope to top that this year. There is more of a need out there than ever before with economic conditions, she said.
The money raised by bell ringers outside of retail stores supports all Salvation Army programs and services, Castle said. Christmas needs are seasonal, and only a portion of the work that is done year round, she said.
People who can't volunteer time as bell ringers can raise funds online, she said. The website is www.onlineredkettle.org.
For more information about volunteering in central Oklahoma, call 246-1101.