Dennis Mahle worries that he may be giving people tinnitus.
The long-time Salvation Army volunteer has been recruiting volunteers at St. John Lutheran Church in Farmington Hills by – what else? – ringing the bell. This year, he needs another 30 volunteers to fill out the schedule and help the Salvation Army meet its $8.5 million goal.
"Sometimes, it's hard to get them to do it," he said. "But once they do, they're eagerly coming back, year after year."
Mahle said he started bell ringing 18 or 19 years ago, because "it struck me as a good thing to do ... one of the good reasons for the season." While some go to Haiti or other foreign countries to help others, he said, bell ringing is a way to reach out close to home.
"We get almost 100 people ringing the bell for 60 hours," he said, covering 10 hours a day for six days at Busch's Fresh Food Market in Farmington Hills, starting Dec. 11.
Keith Blazaitis, one of Mahle's crew, said volunteers have been out during the holiday season in snow, rain and even on those rare "70s and sunny" days. Mahle recalled one gentleman sat by the kettle with a blanket that was plugged into one of the store's outdoor outlets.
Volunteers are needed at the iconic red kettles now through Dec. 24, in 2-4 hours shifts, at various locations in Farmington and Farmington Hills. In addition to volunteer shifts, paid 5-hour shifts begin at $8 per hour.
To volunteer for the Salvation Army Farmington Hills Community Corps Center, visit www.registertoring.com/salmich or call 248-477-1153 ext. 12. In person applications are accepted Monday-Friday,10 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m., at 27500 Shiawassee Rd., Farmington Hills.