COLUMBIA - The Salvation Army is putting out an alert Tuesday after a man impersonated a bell ringer and took money from Columbians outside of Old Navy.
A Old Navy employee noticed the disheveled man standing by the Salvation Army's red kettle and checked their sign in sheet only to discover that there was not supposed to be a volunteer on shift. They informed the authorities who searched for the man but were unable to find him. The Salvation Army told KOMU 8 that the man appeared to be homeless and in his late fifties.
The Red Kettle campaign is more than fifty years old. Paid bell ringers and volunteers stand outside of businesses with the signature red kettle and accept donations for the organization.The Salvation Army wants residents to look for three things when donating to the campaign;
- bell ringers always wear a red apron with the Salvation Army logo
- bell ringers also wear a button
- last, bell ringers will ALWAYS have a bell
Major K. Kendall Mathews also told KOMU 8 that bell ringers will never ask for donators to place the money in their hands, donations are always to go directly into the red kettle. Eighty-five cents of every dollar donated to the Salvation Army goes towards direct service. This includes providing food, shelter, and clothing for Mid-Missouri's needy. This year's Red Kettle campaign goal is 340 thousand dollars, and the organization says it has three weeks to raise the final 150 thousand needed to reach that goal.