SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – All Steven Hunter needs to spread holiday joy is his bell and his dance moves.
“I get my little grove on a little bit,” Hunter said while spinning and ringing out a beat at the Bechtle Avenue Walmart in Springfield Wednesday.
Hunter, now on disability and raising a 12 year old granddaughter, started a paid position as a Salvation Army bell ringer three years ago.
“I was just trying to make ends meet a little bit,” he said. “But you know what? After ringing the bell for two days, everything changed.”
Hunter has found his passion in making others smile and he’s well-known in the Springfield community for entertaining shoppers during his bell ringing shifts.
“Even though it’s the holiday season, a lot of people are still depressed. But I get up there and I do my little thing and they smile and they say, ‘Wow you made my day,'” Hunter said.
He explained his passion is also fueled by prior experience. Growing up in a family of seven, Hunter said his mother would use Salvation Army services when money was getting tight, especially during the holiday season.
“It’s all about giving back,” he said.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraiser each year. Money collected in red drums during the holiday season directly benefits local missions.
The national organization says, on average, a bell ringer collects about $30 in donations in one hour. On Black Friday, Hunter’s personal best, he collected more than $968 in a 9 hour shift.
Hunter said he’s just pleased he can spread a little holiday cheer.
“It’s all about us, our community, trying to help out these families,” he said.
You can learn more about the Salvation Army’s Springfield mission and make a contribution by clicking here.