- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Busy Christmas shoppers, going about their holiday chores, are greeted by the familiar bell-ringing cadence of a Salvation Army kettle volunteer.

In front of the West Side Walmart, Sonya Saunders, with her fancy foot work, is known by frequent shoppers as the dancing bell ringer.

On post six days a week, 8-9 hours a day, Saunders rings her bell and spreads joy with her feet.

“I have always entertained people, I come from off the carnival,” she said.

Off and on for 15 years Saunders ran a fish game traveling from Mexico to Canada and back.



Last year she got bored ringing the bell and heard some nearby music, so she started dancing to pass the time.

“The more you entertain people, the more they are going to like it, the more they are going to smile, the more they are going to donate to your bucket,” she said.

Besides putting a smile on shoppers’ faces, Saunders feels an obligation to give something back to an organization that has helped her.

“I can remember going hungry and being able to go there at lunch time and eat and they have helped me out with utility bills in the past.”

The dozens of holiday bell ringers account for one third of the Evansville Salvation Army’s budget. Serving Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties the organization provides over 25,000 meals, food orders for 20,000 people and rent and utility assistance for 370 households.

“I like to watch the people’s faces, you know they light up,” said Saunders. “They like seeing me here. I have fun with it.”

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Source: Evansville Courier and Press, https://bit.ly/2gTAQTw

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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