MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Johnny Owens has been a bell ringer for a little while now.
"This is my first year actually," said Owens. "I started on the 19th."
He said he just moved to Midland recently and the opportunity came up.
"I had a bucket list of different jobs I wanted to do and seeing Miracle on 54th Street, watching the Bell Ringers, I always thought, 'well that'd be pretty neat to do it,' said Owens. "Well they were advertising it and I needed a job and the Salvation Army helped me and my family out when I first moved here."
Now, he's working as much as he can, and loving every bit of it.
"There's nothing more rewarding and gratifying than knowing that you're helping out people in need," said Owens. "I've actually, I guess because of the beard, I've had a couple of young kids run up to me and give me a hug and say 'Oh, I love you Santa!' Seeing that smile and joy in their hearts as well is a very rewarding and satisfying thing."
But even with paid Bell Ringers, there aren't enough bodies to stand at every post.
Lieutenant Jeremy Walker said they usually like to have volunteers make out 80 percent of their bell ringers, right now, they make up only about five percent.
Walker said the pots are only outside the stores until Christmas Eve, and to make sure they reach their goal, they're asking for more volunteers.
"We have a short window. Our goal this year is to raise about $100,000," said Walker. "We have about 30 days to do that. We started right here before Thanksgiving so it's a very short window. If we don't have people standing out at the kettle, it's hard to make that money."
Owens said it's all worth it, and encourages those who are on the edge of volunteer, to come on down.
"It's been very rewarding and satisfying, knowing that I'm helping out people as the Salvation Army helped out when I moved here," said Owens. "Knowing that I'm able to help out, especially young kids have a Christmas that they probably wouldn't have."
They ring Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the last day of ringing is Christmas Eve.
You can volunteer by calling the salvation army at 432-683-3614.