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Salvation Army Bells Ringing in Eastchester

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Jingle bells are not the only bells ringing in Eastchester during the holiday season.

The Salvation Army kettle can be found in front of the Stop and Shop on White Plains Road each year.

This year ringing that particular bell is New Rochelle resident Frank Magnero.

"I am here six days each week, " Magnero said. "I started right after Thanksgiving."

While most of the people working the kettles are unpaid volunteers, some collectors, like Magnero, are paid.

"I do need the money, but that is not the reason I am out here," Magnero said. "I like doing this so I can help people who are in need."

Last year the greater New York area volunteers raised $25 million for people in need, according to Denise Richardson, who is the Director of Communications for the Greater New York Area Chapter of the Salvation Army.

"Many people think it was the Salvation Army collectors who dressed up as Santa, it was actually the Volunteers of America," Richardson said.

The Salvation Army can be traced back to San Francisco. It was 1891 when English sailor Joseph McFee was looking for a way to raise money for the poor during Christmas when he remembered seeing passengers from docked boats in England tossing coins into a large kettle called "Simpson's Pot."

McFee set up his first kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign which read "Keep the Pot Boiling." He raised enough money that year to provide Christmas dinner to many poor families.

By 1897, kettles had gone nationwide funding 150,000 Christmas dinners for the poor and by 1901, donations in New York City funded a sit-down dinner held at Madison Square Garden.

Back in front of the Stop and Shop in Eastchester, Magnero said will continue to stand fast at his kettle until Christmas Eve.

"Everyone here is very generous," Magnero said. "I really like being here in Eastchester."

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