ST. CLOUD -- A staple of the holiday season returns today (Friday) - the Salvation Army bell ringers begin their quest to raise money for local families in need - and you can help.

Shannon Smithers is the Special Events Coordinator at the St. Cloud Salvation Army.

She says she is optimistic for this season, after last year's frigid winter had a negative impact on their goal.

Smithers says that half of the bell ringers make their debut today at every Coborn's, Cash Wise, Shopko, and K-Mart around the area with the rest of the locations coming after Thanksgiving.

Smithers says she appreciates being involved with the Salvation Army's largest and most successful annual program.

To get involved with the Salvation Army bell ringers, Smithers says you can contact her directly or apply online.

The minimum shift to ring the bell is two hours, but you can help out by donating whatever you can the next time you see someone ringing that bell.