Realtor Ring Day

Dec 7, 2020

Real estate agents tend to be a competitive lot. Once a year, though, Realtors from around the region – and the country -- come together for a cause all can support: The drive to fill Salvation Army red kettles with cash.

Realtor Ring Day usually brings real estate agents out to stores, malls and street corners to stand next to the traditional red kettles and ring their bells to see who can raise the most money. This year’s official Realtor Ring Day, scheduled for Dec. 4, was different due to COVID-19 restrictions. While some agents were out, many have launched alternatives such as “virtual kettles” on websites and social media with links for people to contribute.

One thing hasn’t changed, Realtors say, and that’s the joy of partnering with The Salvation Army to support people in their own communities who are in crisis.

“Until I got involved, I didn’t know the scope of what The Salvation Army did,” said Angela Young, a Realtor with Century 21 Covered Bridges Realty in Bloomsburg, Pa. “To be able to help people in their darkest hours is special.”  

Young is the incoming president of the Central Susquehanna Valley Board of Realtors and for several years has organized a competition among local real estate agencies. Typically, 12 to 15 real estate offices and as many as 150 agents have used the more traditional bell ringing method to raise as much as $4,000. This year they hope to raise at least that amount through a virtual kettle campaign through the month of December.

Nationally, The Salvation Army raised $126 million last year through 30,000 red kettles. The Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division, alone, generated $3.3 million. This year, though, The Salvation Army is battling headwinds due to store closings, reduced foot traffic in cities and towns, and the fact people are carrying less cash and coins. This is expected to result in a 50 percent reduction in kettle collections nationwide, and is the impetus behind a campaign to Rescue Christmas.

The need is greater than ever. The Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division expects to serve more than 150 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance – everything from providing food to paying utility bills and putting gifts under the tree. Money raised from the kettles also funds programs throughout the year – everything from homeless shelters to education to disaster assistance in cities and towns across the region.

And that’s where organizations like the Realtors come in. Last year, nearly 20 local Realtors associations in the Division coordinated volunteers to ring at locations in their local communities. Volunteers are still needed – as red kettles are still being used with the proper safety precautions -- but many, like the Central Susquehanna Valley Board of Realtors, are finding new ways to raise money.

“It makes you feel good knowing that the money is staying in the community,” said Barbara Hamilton, association executive for the Central Susquehanna Valley Board of Realtors.

Next Christmas, Young and other Realtors hope to return to their stations to experience the reactions of people as they see the smiles, hear the bells and drop their change into the kettle.

“We live in a small town,” Young said. “People are eager to try and help. It’s just always a joyful experience to get out into the community.”

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