Epic Day of Bell Ringing

December 03, 2015

It’s not unusual to encounter a lone Salvation Army bell ringer outside your local Wal-Mart this time of the year. But that was not the case for the shoppers at the Bush River Road Wal-Mart in Columbia on Dec. 1. Instead, entire groups of Columbia International University students gathered in front of the familiar red kettles ringing the bells and singing Christmas songs at the top of their voices. The proclamation of Christ through music was heard well across the massive parking lot.

The annual “Epic Day of Bell Ringing” is organized by the CIU Student Senate with students taking two-hour shifts between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Among those manning the kettle and singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was freshman Joseph Knight who said his motivation for coming out was “To spread the joy of Jesus at Wal-Mart.”

“Make people smile, and tell them what Christmas is about,” added freshman Erica Williamson who wore a contagious smile, a red Salvation Army apron – and flip flops. The Minnesota native was enjoying the South Carolina Christmas weather.

“I’ve never worn flip flops in December in my life!” she exclaimed with delight.

As shoppers dropped money in the kettle, some sang along or danced to the rhythm of the bells.

“People are so generous,” Williamson said. “People have put in a lot of money.”

Williamson's statement was later confirmed by the Salvation Army. When the final tally for the day came in, $1,186.02 was raised by CIU. 

Check out photos from the event on CIU's Flickr page