NEW YORK (PIX11) — For decades, Salvation Army bell ringers have been a fixture for city sidewalks during Christmas time. However, between freezing temps and smartphone obsessed passersby, it’s pretty hard to get anyone’s attention.
In recent years volunteers have flipped the script, throwing their own little ‘kettle’ block parties all to help needy families buy food and toys.
“This year, it seems a lot of volunteers are just singing and dancing to attract more attention,” Joseph Smith, a Salvation Army cadet told PIX11 News. “I mean more people see you, they smile, they wanna donate more. It makes everyone happy.”
Smith along with his bell-ringing partner Fernando De Oliveria put on a lively show each week day between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street.
Despite freezing temperatures during their shifts, the two manage to bring in a crowd of spectators, most who snap photos and take video of the duo strutting their stuff.
Grand Central is just one of many Salvation Army stations across the city where volunteers dance for donations. Dancing cadets outside Penn Station and Bloomingdales on Lexington Avenue have been known to draw enormous crowds, even getting attention on YouTube.
The dancing strategy — according to the Salvation Army — wasn’t a strategy at all. The organization simply told volunteers to do whatever they could to attract attention and music seemed to the trick, prompting a significant surge in donations at performance locations, a spokesperson told PIX11 News.
The dancing Salvation Army cadets will be out on the streets until Christmas Day.