NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As hundreds of people lined up outside First Tennessee Park for the GLOW Christmas attraction on Friday evening, the sound of a small bell ringing cut through the crowd noise.
"It's a sound that people know what it means this time of year," Major Ethan Frizzell said, while ringing the bell. Frizzell is a Nashville Area Commander for the Salvation Army. "When they hear the bell, they know the Salvation Army is there."
For many, the sound is familiar and lets people know the Salvation Army's iconic red kettle campaign is beginning, but this year there is something new.
"It does take a moment to get used to," Frizzell said.
This year, for the first time, people can use their phone to donate through Apple Pay and Google Pay. Kettle stands will have a QR code that donors can take pictures of to donate. There will also be a chip on the kettles themselves; donors can touch their phone to the chip to receive a prompt asking them how much they would like to donate.
"What we see are more and more people are shopping online and less people are carrying cash," Frizzell said. But whether the donations are made in a kettle or through an app, Frizzell says they go to the same cause: helping people across the mid-state.
"The money that we bring in this time of year is foundational for the services that we can do for the next three months, so the money that goes into the kettle is very important to us," he said. "Lives are changing around us all through the sound of a bell."
For information on how to donate or how to get involved in the red kettle campaign, visit the Nashville Area Salvation Army website.