NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Due to the rise in new COVID-19 cases in Middle Tennessee, the Salvation Army of Nashville has made the decision to silence its bells early this year.
Organization leaders said they made the decision end the campaign early in support of first responders.
"The Salvation Army works alongside our community’s first responder teams when disaster strikes our community to provide life-sustaining services to our neighbors," said Major Ethan Frizzell. "This disaster called COVID is long-lasting and ever-changing in its impact, and while we continue to provide our life-sustaining services to our community as we have for the last nine months, we feel it is our responsibility to our first responder partners to not actively be out in the community any more than is critically necessary during this spike in numbers to try and help slow the spread of COVID."
While the Salvation Army has a 130-year tradition of ringing bells through Christmas Eve, this year the bells will go silent on December 19.
The Salvation Army said an anonymous community partner came forward to turn the last day of bell ringing into a "Super Saturday" event. On December 19, every $20 donated will be matched by the anonymous partner up to $25,000.
Following Saturday, Sony Music Nashville will be providing artist support to fill the silence with Christmas music.
"We are thankful to our anonymous donor, as this match will help us on our final push to reach our goal," said Frizzell. "Our community has already had a tremendous response this year to our call to rescue Christmas and spread hope into the New Year for our neighbors. Even with our bells silenced in the public next week, with the support of Sony Music Nashville, we know that our community will respond, to not only reach but surpass our Red Kettle Challenge goal of $500,000."
Although there will no longer be bell ringers out in the community, the Salvation Army says unmanned kettles can still be found with a bell attached for donors to ring themselves.
Anyone wishing to donate this year can still do so online by clicking here.