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Salvation Army Pulls Red Kettle Ringers Off Streets As Dangerous Cold Covers The State

BOSTON (CBS) -- Temperatures plummeted Friday, causing schools to open late or close all together. But students weren't the only ones who stayed home.

The Salvation Army pulled all of its red kettle bell ringers off the streets Friday to protect them from the dangerous cold.

"It's dangerously cold and for that reason, with one week left to go in the red kettle campaign, most, if not all of our locations that have red kettles outdoors, will not have a bell ringer there," Drew Forster, director of communications for the Salvation Army Massachusetts, said. "We won't have our red kettles outside at many of our 400 red kettle locations across Massachusetts."

When temperatures dip into the dangerous territory, Forster said the kettles tend to dry up.

"I was out yesterday (Thursday) for about three hours. that was a cold day but still people stopped and gave even at that level of cold," he said. "What we find when it's dangerously cold are two things: It's simply not safe for our bell ringers to be out there, and even the most generous contributor doesn't stop when it's this cold."

But, with just a week left in the campaign, Forster said bell ringers will hope to make up for the lost day when they're back on the streets Saturday - despite some snow in the forecast. The ringers hope to raise $3.5 million this year.

"The good news is tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer and tomorrow marks exactly seven days left in the campaign," Forster said. "So, our red kettles will be back out in force as we expect shoppers to be back out in force, and we hope people will be doubly generous because we are losing the revenue we are losing today. We're not exactly the U.S. Postal Service, but through rain or sleet or snow we tend to be out there."

While Forster said the organization was able to keep its ringers inside on Friday, there are many out there who don't have that choice. Those are the people the Salvation Army wants to help.

"The important thing to remember is there are people out there who do not have a place to sleep, and they are out there in this weather as well," Forster said.

Bell ringers will be back outside Saturday, but to help in the meantime, anyone wishing to donate can visit and make a donation online.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal reports



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