"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings."
It's a famous line from Frank Capra's holiday classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."
Just as Jimmy Stewart's performance in that film brings me to tears every year, my emotions stirred last week concerning another type of bell ringing.
One need not look far to find need in Northwest Indiana. But a quick glance in the mirror shows us all a possible means to assuage that need.
As we enter the holiday season, I'm issuing a challenge to my readers to look within themselves and then give of their time to help ring some bells and create plenty of new angels.
I'm enlisting in a special army this year, and I need your help.
The Salvation Army, one of the most devout nonprofit agencies I've ever covered in a two-decades-plus journalism career, is in a bind.
The Lake County chapter doesn't have enough volunteer bell ringers to man the big red donation kettles — familiar fixtures outside grocery stores, malls and other retail businesses.
Lake County Salvation Army officials have hired some bell ringers, but those individuals must be paid, meaning that the take of those kettles won't go as far to aid the Region's needy. Volunteer ringers cost nothing.
So last week, I enlisted.
I've signed up for a 10-hour bock of red-kettle bell ringing, beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 (a Saturday) outside the Jewel-Osco grocery store on Main Street in Crown Point.
I'm completely willing to work the entire 10 hours myself, but I sure could use some company and relief.
So I'm asking my readers to give of their time and give me call or send an email. Let me know if you can take over bell ringing duties during that 10-hour span next Saturday.
I'll handle the 10 a.m. to noon shift. The Times Managing Editor Erin Orr has graciously agreed to join in from noon to 2 p.m. that day.
I need others to contact me and sign up for other shifts that day, hopefully for one or two hours at a time, until the 10-hour period ends at 8 p.m. Dec. 10.
I don't dance, and you don't really want to hear me sing. But if you join me, I can pledge some rounds of coffee or hot chocolate — and conversation about topics of your choosing between the dings and the rings.
Does that day and location or those times not work for you? Don't worry. The Salvation Army has a plethora of other days, times and bell-ringing places for which it seeks volunteer ringers in the Region.
Volunteers can commit themselves to those places and time slots leading up to the holidays through an online registration at register2ring.com.
If you have trouble navigating the site, give me a call, and I'll walk you through it.
Sure, there's plenty of need for cash and material donations this time of year, such as the coins we toss into Salvation Army kettles or canned food we donate to Region food banks.
However, the gift of your time can be just as valuable, or perhaps even more so.
Help me create some angels this holiday season by becoming one yourself. The ringing of bells awaits.