SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Christmas bells are ringing at a Walmart in Springfield as Salvation Army bell-ringer, Steven Hunter, spreads some holiday cheer with his longtime helper, Sarah Snyder.

“When I met Sarah, she was two years old, I think maybe two and a half,” said Hunter, who has been ringing bells at Christmas time for six years. “And she just walked up to me and looked at me and said, ‘You’re my best friend.’ And her mom was standing in the background and said, ‘That’s all she talks about is you.’”

Now, Sarah is eight years old. After moving out-of-state last summer with her family, she decided to show just how committed she is to helping her friend Steve collect donations — so much so, she raised her own money to travel back to Ohio for the holiday season.

“I did a bake sale,” said Sarah. “I was selling, and we made some treats.”

As a result, she raised nearly $1,000 to travel back to Springfield from Montana. Sarah’s mother, Kara Snyder, said her daughter has been looking forward to ringing bells for the third holiday season after staying in touch with Steve throughout the year.

“Their friendship has been a really big blessing and it’s definitely a God thing,” said Kara.

Even Kara and Steve are tied to the magic of the Christmas season with their shared birthdays, December 1st. Kara said she hopes that no matter the time of year, the world can learn from her daughter’s warm and loving spirit. 

“What she told me this morning was, ‘We have different blood, but we have the same father.’ We love everybody and my mission in life is that everybody would know how much they’re loved, and that everybody matters, no matter what,” said Kara.

Sarah plans to join Steve at the Walmart on Bechtle Avenue in Springfield this Saturday.