R inging the bell for the Brainerd Salvation Army is the least that Wendy Pearson can do.
Pearson, 50, who recently moved to Brainerd from Pequot Lakes, said the Salvation Army has helped her out in her time of need. And now that she is unemployed and has the time, it is her chance to help the nonprofit organization out, as well as the community.
“This is such a great cause and helps so many others in the community,” said Pearson. “I’m so fortunate to do this.”
Pearson does get paid for her hours ringing the bell. The Salvation Army has paid five people to ring the bells this Christmas season. Capt. Scott Strissel of the Salvation Army told the Dispatch that the kettles see a serious deficit — seeing about $2-3 dollars an hour for an unmanned kettle versus $50-60 an hour for a kettle with a bell ringer.
Pearson, who volunteers for the Salvation Army’s food shelf, said this is the first year that she has taken part in the bell ringing. Pearson volunteers her time at several red kettle locations throughout the Brainerd lakes area. She began Nov. 20 and has averaged about 45 hours a week.
Pearson said the Salvation Army is a good organization and they don’t look down to the people who need help. The Salvation Army has several programs, including collecting back-to-school supplies and collecting donations to help people in need with emergency items, such as shelter, clothes, food and household items and helping people with their rent/mortgage payments, utility assistance, prescriptions and transportation.
Pearson said she is a happy, go-lucky person, so ringing the bell is an easy job.
“I smile a lot at the people coming by and wish them a Merry Christmas or happy holidays,” said Pearson. “A smile is worth a thousand words.”
Pearson said she lives at the North Star Apartments and volunteers with the residents there in making arts and crafts and doing cookie exchanges.
Pearson said her hobby is basically looking for a job. She said all the places she has worked at for the past 10 years have closed. She said she worked in health care and the grocery business.
Pearson said she has a daughter and three grandchildren who live in Brainerd and her mother lives in Pequot Lakes.