Kettle donations transform bell ringer’s life

Dec 21, 2021

Few people understand the importance of bell ringing better than Wesley Daniels. 

Wesley, 54, is a longtime bell ringer whose life was transformed thanks to donations made to red kettles. (Sign up to ring.)

His transformation began in 2009, when he arrived at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis – a homeless outreach facility that is heavily funded by kettle donations. 

“I’d recently had a heart attack from doing drugs,” said Wesley, 54, while ringing bells outside a Cub grocery store in Brooklyn Park. “I’d lost my job and my home. I didn’t have anywhere to go.”

While staying at the Harbor Light Center, loving Salvation Army staff members gave Wesley food, shelter, addiction counseling, and spiritual care. The facility is one of the largest homeless outreach centers in Minnesota, providing a warm bed for about 250 men and women every night. 

Wesley spent a year at the Harbor Light Center, learning how to live a clean life filled with meaning and purpose. He went on to secure his own apartment, graduate from college, and be gainfully employed. 

“I never went back to drugs, either,” Wesley said. “No more hanging around on the street or going to bars and clubs. Those days are gone.”

These days, Wesley spends his free time praying, working on his car, and reaching out to men who are struggling with addiction as he once did. 

“I do a lot of check-ins on other guys,” Wesley said. “It’s good to be a support to them.”

Wesley is proud of the man he has become. When people stuff cash into his red kettle, he takes comfort in knowing the money will help others like him.  

“Why am I standing here ringing?” asked Wesley, bundled in his warmest winter clothes, standing next to a red kettle on a frigid winter day. “I’ve been hungry and homeless before. I know how that feels. And I appreciate The Salvation Army for helping me get myself back together.”

Last call for bell ringers

Time is running out to ring bells for The Salvation Army. With just four days remaining in the Red Kettle season and hundreds of kettle locations throughout Minnesota and North Dakota, you’re sure to find a convenient time and place to ring. Sign up now.

Your time at a kettle will raise money to provide food, shelter and care for people in need. Just two hours at a kettle typically raises about $60 – enough money for The Salvation Army to provide a hot meal and one night of shelter for a person experiencing homelessness. 

You can do something good this holiday season by donating to The Salvation Army, volunteering, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle. Your help will provide food, shelter and care for local families in need. Because of you, Hope Marches On. 

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