MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — One of the most familiar signs of the holiday season is the sound of a bell ringing, along with The Salvation Army bell ringer and red kettle.

According to a news release, the Red Kettle campaign through The Salvation Army starts on Saturday, November 18.

The goal for this year is $75,000 and it’s a critical part of the holiday fundraising campaign since 70% of their funding is raised during the last three months of the year. These funds help struggling families with food, housing, and financial assistance during the year.

But right now, The Salvation Army is in desperate need of bell ringers, and reports show that 18 hours have been scheduled by bell ringers, but another 2,600 hours are still needed to reach their goal.

“Bell-ringers are vitally important to our campaign because a kettle that has an actual bell ringer with it will raise between $60 and $90 an hour,” said Division Commander Lt. Colonel Randall Polsley. “That’s an enormous help in supporting our feeding and housing programs because an unattended kettle won’t raise any funds.”

The Salvation Army is going to test a new digital payment technology at one kettle location this year. “Tap to Give” devices will let donors make a gift for as little as $5 with a two-second tap of their chipped credit card or smartphone with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

“Many people no longer carry cash with them, and with Tap to Give, we’ve made it incredibly easy to quickly make a small donation at the red kettle,” Polsley added.

Even though the pandemic is mostly over, North Dakota families are still struggling, according to PolicyLink.org, 9,000 households are behind on their rent. And Investopedia.com says that more than three out of four Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Many families have to choose between feeding their families and paying rent because of inflation of food, gas, rent, and heat.

“As more and more people come to The Salvation Army for help, we in turn rely on volunteer bell ringers for their help at this most important time of the year,” said the Volunteer Relations Director, Sophie Crowell. “And if you ever feel like you’ve forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is, ring a bell at a red kettle and you’ll quickly remember.”

Those interested in volunteering to be a bell ringer can sign up here.