Bells will be ringing at area businesses until Dec. 24, and bell ringers are needed through then.

The annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign began on Thanksgiving as cheerful bell ringers raise awareness and accept donations for needy residents in the area.

James Swann is a bell ringer during the Red Kettle Campaign, his fourth year doing so, and he says the experience makes him “feel at peace.”

According to the Salvation Army, the initial role of a bell ringer is to bring good cheer to everyone they meet during the holiday season and to raise funds to help the needy.

Standing outside of Wal-mart on Yopp Road, Swann dutifully brings good cheer to shoppers and rings his bell, a sound that symbolizes the need of the local community.

“I (was) watching tv and see the storms and floods, it just got into my mind to help the community and give back. I can’t do nothing else so why not (volunteer)?” Swann said Friday afternoon.

There will be kettles at locations around the Jacksonville area.

Bells will be ringing at area businesses until Dec. 24.

“I feel at ease, at peace, to find that I helped out. As long as I’m healthy, I plan to keep helping out,” Swann said.

Of every dollar donated, 87 percent goes toward operations that help those in need in Jones and Onslow County. The Red Kettle goal for the Jacksonville campaign is $150,000, according to Salvation Army.

Those interested in volunteering can visit redkettlevolunteer.org to sign up and receive a assignment this Christmas season.

Swann says his reason for volunteering during the holiday seasons is “ to give back to the community and help the ones that need it.”

The first step is to register and login using your basic contact information. The second step is requesting a new assignment. Volunteers can specify their preference when choosing a bell ringing assignment. The third step is to receive confirmation of your chosen assignment.

Bell ringers are needed until Christmas Eve.

The Salvation Army receives most of their annual donations during the holiday season, but “need knows no season,” according to the local Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army could also use donations to their food pantry, which can help sustain the program after seasonal giving dies down. The need for warm weather gear such as coats, blankets and hats also remains.

For more information on the Jacksonville Salvation Army, visit salvationarmycarolinas.org/jacksonville.