Bell Ringers Not Allowed Warming Hut at Devils Lake, ND, WalmartDEVILS LAKE (WDAZ-TV) - Some Salvation Army bell ringers in Devils Lake will have to wear warmer clothes this year.
By: David Schwab, WDAZ
DEVILS LAKE (WDAZ-TV) - Some Salvation Army bell ringers in Devils Lake will have to wear warmer clothes this year.
Walmart has ordered the Salvation Army to remove its warming house from the store's property.
Dale Kruckenberg is a volunteer bell ringer for the Salvation Army. He knows how cold it can get ringing for donations. That's just one of the reasons why he was thankful last weekend for a portable warming house at the Walmart location.
"When we had the hut, we had a stool in there that we could sit on and take the pressure off the knees and what have you," Kruckenberg said.
Devils Lake Salvation Army Chair Evan Heustis says the hut make it easier to recruit bell ringer who are generally elderly people.
"It's been a real boon to have that booth there because they are outside the wind, there is a heater in there and it's a warm environment for them to ring," Heustis said.
But Walmart says the structure has to go. Heustis says that will make it tougher to fill bell ringing shifts here. That's because bell ringers are not allowed to solicit donations inside any part of the store and are only allowed in the store to warm up.
Heustis says Walmart continues to be Salvation Army's biggest supporters and understands the decision.
"There may be other organizations to whom they don't hold in such high regard that will say ' well if you do it for the Army you have to do it for us.' And if they say 'well we're not. We're going to have only the Salvation Army and not you,' they are going to face some accusation of discrimination," Heustis said.
Heustis says they will just have to brave the cold and that will still include Kruckenberg.
"I'll still do it but it will only be an hour shift instead of two hours," Kruckenberg said.
The Army says the Walmart location brings in about $8,000 a season, more than half of the money raised in kettles in Devils Lake.