Man who became homeless says ringing bell for Salvation Army bri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Man who became homeless says ringing bell for Salvation Army brings him joy

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The red kettles are out, bells are ringing and donations are pouring in.

And those involved in the Salvation Army's yearly red kettle campaign say their jobs bring them more joy than you might imagine.

Before each Louisville bell-ringer hits the road each morning, they gather for a mini pep rally at headquarters.

They pick out their bells (which do have different sounds), buckets, and find out who’s on top of the leader board with the most donations.

Whoever beats their daily goal of $200 gets a ticket into a drawing for different prizes. One of them included a new coffee maker.

"You need to be happy! You need to get excited about it," one team leader said.

Tommi Miller has been a top ringer for the Salvation Army and usually falls within the top 10. During a pep rally last week, ringers applauded Miller for his $579 collection that put him at number one.

"Merry Christmas little lady, how are you doing?” said Miller as he stood outside the Kroger at Stonybrook.

Miller has been working for the Salvation Army for four years now.

"Thank you little one," he said as a child who put money in his kettle.

After having a heart attack and becoming homeless, Miller wanted to give back.

"It makes me feel rejoiceful and happy," he said.

It's not about the $7.75 an hour paycheck. Miller's goal is to make a personal connection with everyone.

The giving and kindness shown by complete strangers warms his heart.

"Just to see the sight on the kids' eyes when they're getting fed from the Salvation Army,” Miller said. “It's a blessing ... It's enough to make tears come into your eyes, knowing that you're giving back and you're doing your best for them."

Miller helped the Salvation Army exceed last year's goal of collecting $350,000. This year's goal is $400,000.

“I've been selfish so much of my life, you know, it feels great and gracious to me to give back."

That positive attitude of "doing good" begins every morning at the pep rally.

The Salvation Army has 69 locations around Louisville and is still looking for paid and volunteer ringers.

If you'd like to sign up you can call 502-671-4900 or head to the Salvation Army’s Website.

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