LONDON, ONT. -- With less than two weeks left in this year’s Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign, some of the kettle bells are silent. Why? Because they still need volunteers to staff them.

With everyone so busy this time of the year with gift buying, travelling, baking and spending quality time with friends and family, it’s difficult for the Salvation Army to find people willing to volunteer -- especially on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

“We rely heavily on our kettle workers who volunteer their time,” says Shannon Wise, of the Salvation Army. “One in seven Londoners struggle to make ends meet and this campaign helps The Salvation Army feed, clothe, shelter and empower those in need.”

Last year, the Kettle Campaign helped over 4,400 households in London receive a food hamper and more than 6,500 local children received toys through The Salvation Army Christmas Hamper Program.

As more families in need look to the Salvation Army, this year’s campaign goal is $550,000 but without volunteers to staff the kettles it will be hard to reach that goal.

“Volunteering is a great learning opportunity and teaching moment for you, your kids or love ones,” says Wise. “Volunteering just two hours at a kettle, you hear stories from several people on how the Salvation Army has helped them or friends by giving them a hand up not a hand out … it warms your heart when you hear those stories from other people in the community.”

And Wise adds, isn’t that really what this time of year is all about?

Anyone can volunteer, but if you’re under 16 you need an adult to accompany you. It’s a great way for students to fill their required volunteer hours for a high school diploma.

There is still hope in this city and it starts with you. Find the time during this holiday season to help The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign by calling 519-873-2984 or go online to to volunteer and keep those bells ringing to help those in need.

The Kettle Campaign runs until Christmas Eve.