COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Salvation Army is no stranger to giving back during the holiday season, and one Columbus resident is no stranger to the Salvation Army.

Vandy Middleton has been ringing the iconic bell for the non-profit’s Red Kettle Campaign for 23 years and she’s thrilled to return again this year.

Today Middleton will be at the Walmart on Whittlesey Boulevard in Columbus, from now until 8 p.m. on the evening Monday, December 20.

This year, Middleton is asking folks to consider donating $23 for her neighbors in need. However, she wants to remind folks, even a small gift can go a long way.

“I mean they’re providing food, clothes, gifts, it’s just a real need in the holidays and all during the year to real families, real children, that need help,” Middleton said. “You just would not believe the number of people that put money in the kettle and say you’ll never know when you’ll need it back. and they know the Salvation Army will always be there for them. 

Every year Middleton raises thousands of dollars and awareness on her annual day of ringing. Last year she raised $11,000 on a single day.

This tradition is a family one, and deeply personal for Middleton.

“Well, my grandmother used to ring the bell and I sort of just took over after she died,” said Middleton. “The Salvation Army you know just gives back to real people with real needs.”

In addition to encouraging passerby’s to drop off a donation in the Red Kettle, Middleton is also accepting donations via Venmo. Middleton’s Venmo account is “Vandy-Middleton.”

Middleton says she keeps a paper trail of every Venmo donation to ensure all donations make it back to the Salvation Army.

Middleton has also created a special Instagram account to document the annual day of ringing and she encourages everyone to follow along even if they can’t swing by the Red Kettle on December 20.

For those looking to volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, that information can be found here.