Ben Kazda - Volunteer of the Month Banner

Volunteer of the Month – Ben Kazda

Ben Kazda - Volunteer of the Month Banner

It’s More Than a Tip

Ben Kazda challenges all of his bartender and service industry friends to donate your tips and raise money for The Salvation Army or other charity. And he’ll be at The Dig Pub in Cedar Park, Texas, on December 8th by donating all his tips to The Salvation Army Austin for Christmas gifts for teens living in emergency shelters. Help him reach his goal of $5,000!

Last year Ben raised $3,800. The bar was packed with people and his goal was $1,500. Volunteering his talents and giving to charity is something near and dear to Ben because of the way he grew up. He would like to see other people come out and do the same thing this year.

Thank you Ben for wanting to help teenager’s in need of a fulfilling Christmas and making that dream come true.

Angel Tree

Give joy to families in our community this Christmas by participating in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.

boy opening gifts - The Salvation Army Angel Tree

Each year the Salvation Army provides toys and clothing to children in need at Christmas. Last year, thanks to the generosity of the Austin community, we provided gifts to more than 6,800 local children. With your help we will help 7,000 individuals in the Austin area this year.

Our online Angel Tree adoption has ended, but you can learn how to adopt an Angel at an area mall by Saturday, December 13.

“It’s an act of showing someone that you love them.”


Don’t have time to shop? Donate now, and we’ll do the shopping for you.

Families in need are referred to the Salvation Army by social services or schools. We verify the needs of the family and then each child registered with Angel Tree is printed a tag that’s hung on one of the trees located in malls and in participating corporations and organizations across Travis and Williamson counties.

Angel Tree tags

We Need You!

This is where you come in! We need volunteers who will adopt Angels, or who will give their time by manning Angel Trees in the malls or helping in the Salvation Army Distribution Center where gifts are organized and where families will pick up the gifts. Click here to see all Angel Tree volunteer opportunities and sign up now. You can find Angels at Angel Trees Lakeline, Barton Creek Square and The Domain.

See our Angel Tree page for more information on how it works. Tune in to The Majic of Christmas on 95.5 from December 1-19th to hear from Angel Tree families and others served by the Salvation Army.




10 Reasons featured image

10 Reasons to be a Volunteer Bell Ringer this Christmas!

by Emily Alvarado
Sign up to be a volunteer bell ringer this Christmas!

We need you this Red Kettle season

This year’s annual Red Kettle campaign starts November 26th and we need you to be a volunteer bell ringer! Red Kettles have been a trademark of the Salvation Army for more than 100 years. Christmas shopping wouldn’t be the same without the greeting of a Salvation Army bell ringer. It’s one of the many traditions that make Christmas special – for us, and for those who will benefit when we drop our donation in the Red Kettle. Learn more about how you can get involved here.

10 Reasons you should be a Bell Ringer this Christmas

 1. It’s fun! This is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. You get to be right in the midst of the holiday bustle. Get creative – dress up, sing songs, bring your friends!

2. You’ll spread Christmas cheer. The Red Kettle bell is an iconic sound of the season. You’ll put people in the Christmas spirit! If you’re up for it, you can even use the time to check caroling off your list of festivities.

3. You’ll be part of changing lives. The Salvation Army in Austin provides food, clothing, shelter and other social services to those in need. Last year the Salvation Army served more than 400,000 people – that’s about 1,100 a day.

4. The money you raise directly impacts your community. All donations made in Austin stay in Austin. The Salvation Army is the largest provider of basic needs services to those experiencing homelessness in Williamson and Travis Counties. By helping raise funds through a Red Kettle, you’re a neighbor helping neighbors.

5. It’s easy! No experience required. It takes as little as two hours on a Saturday. Sign up here!

6. It’s the perfect opportunity to wear a tacky Christmas sweater. After hanging in your closet all year, it’s time for the annual debut. Dressing up makes bell ringing more fun, and might get some extra smiles out of Christmas shoppers.

7. “Make new friends, and keep the old.” You’ll get to meet lots of new people as you invite them to donate to your red kettle. Add to the fun by asking friends and family to ring a bell with you. You can even make it a new tradition!

8. Channel your competitive side. For you goal-oriented types, it’s easy to see how your work is paying off as your Red Kettle fills up! See how many people you can convince to give to your Red Kettle.

9. Take advantage of the cool winter air! It doesn’t stick around for long. Dust off those winter coats and sip on some cider or hot cocoa.

10. Be part of a legacyThe Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign has been a Christmas tradition since 1891. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee set out a kettle to raise funds to feed the hungry in San Francisco. Now Red Kettles can be found all over the world in places like Japan, Chile and countries in Europe.

Ring a bell for Red Kettle this Christmas!

Red Kettle Season is Almost Here!

by Emily Alvarado

Ring a bell for Red Kettle this Christmas!

Red Kettle 2014

The 2014 Red Kettle campaign kicks off soon. It begins November 26th and goes through Christmas Eve.

This year marks the 124th year of The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. Last year donors across the country gave almost $136 million, which provided more than 30 million people with food, shelter and social services. Donors in Austin raised $229,000, which helped serve more than 400,000 people in Travis and Williamson Counties.

Holiday donations make up the majority of funds used to provide services to people in Austin year round. Red Kettles make change happen, so this year the Salvation Army needs your help.

Four Ways to Get Involved

1. Drop a donation in one of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles at stores or companies across Austin between November 26th and Christmas Eve.

2. Sign up to be a volunteer Bell Ringer! Make a difference by giving just two hours on a Saturday. You can sign up with friends and family, and throw on your favorite ugly Christmas sweater! Check out our bell ringer page for more information.

3. Spread the word! Tell people why you’re giving to a Red Kettle this Christmas. Use the hashtag #RedKettleReason. See what others are saying, and join the conversation at

4. Host your own Red Kettle – online! Use email and social media to invite friends and family to donate. You can sign up individually or with a team. Start your online Kettle now:

Salvation Army Red Kettle


Jill with Colonel Dorris Banner

Volunteer of the Month Jill Harrison

Jill with Colonel Dorris

Jill Harrison has led the Operation Facelift effort with dedication and is committed to making our shelter a more comforting place for those we serve.

Our July volunteer of the month, Jill Harrison, stepped right up when she saw a call for volunteers to help with Operation Facelift at The Salvation Army’s downtown Social Service Center.  Operation Facelift is an on-going project to refresh and update our emergency shelter which houses close to 5,000 men, women, and children annually. Jill quickly saw that the dining room which serves almost 350,000 meals a year was in need of a makeover. She took the dining room along with our Chapel on as a personal project.

We interviewed Jill about why she volunteers. Click this link to watch the video.


Thanks to Jill, the dining room and Chapel now have a fresh coat of paint, artwork, decor, new lighting, and a home-like feel. Our clients, along with staff, love the uplifting change and appreciate Jill’s hard work! She continues to act as an interior design consultant for us on other Operation Facelift projects, all while juggling her very busy career at Jill Harrison Interior Designs.

If you are interested in becoming involved with Operation Facelift, click here for more information.

Sharon Morrison

Volunteer of the Month Sharon Morrison

Volunteer of the Month Sharon Morrison









Every month, The Salvation Army honors a dedicated volunteer for their hard work and for supporting our mission in helping those who need it most. It’s June, and we are proud to announce Sharon Morrison as our Volunteer of the Month. You can join Sharon as a Salvation Army volunteer here.

Sharon Morrison works for an agency that provides mental health services and outreach for people who are experiencing homelessness.

For the past 10 years, she has volunteered with The Salvation Army and leads a Bible Study every Wednesday evening at the social services center downtown. The residents are invited to be a part of a Bible study, join in worship music, and share their story. Sharon helps them use their faith to deal with issues they are faced with. She sees the importance of how they are strengthened by their faith in dealing with the challenges in their lives.
We could tell you about Sharon, but we thought you’d like to hear it from Sharon herself:

“What inspired me to volunteer at The Salvation Army lies within the scriptures and to be as Jesus was on Earth. To be a part of helping those who are at a disadvantage. To be a part of those who have been hurt and to be a part of their healing. To allow God to use us to demonstrate his love, healing, and whatever is needed to live a better life. I saw the opportunity and embraced it.

“One particular moment that touched me as a volunteer is that, you know as Christians, we rely on the supernatural power of God to help with situations we really don’t know what to do about. There was a lady who came into the Chapel and she was crying because she had become so dis-engaged with her family. She was also looking for work and everything it took to get her life back together. So, we prayed upon everything that she presented and a week later she came back to see me shouting with joy. She got a job as a Telemarketer and the first caller happened to be her sister. That is nothing but supernatural.

“Volunteering at The Salvation Army gives me a sense of purpose. It helps me feel like my presence is needed. It helps me deal with challenges in my own life and to work harder to overcome the things I need too so I can be present for the residents of The Salvation Army. Others should consider volunteering at The Salvation Army because there is a great need to befriend someone who’s at a disadvantage right now in their lives and be that bridge for them to get back on track, and be a part of the community.” – Sharon


Sharon Morrison is doing the most good in our community. We thank you for making a difference in the lives of women and men who are experiencing homelessness by bringing the light of God’s Word to their lives each week.

Ben Rivera at the Christmas Cheer Center.

Majic 95.5 Salvation Army Volunteer of the Month – Ben Rivera

Ben Rivera at the Christmas Cheer Center.

Ben Rivera at the Christmas Cheer Center.

What would you do if you had two months off from work every year? Would you take a vacation, or just some much needed R & R at home?

Our January Volunteer of the Month doesn’t take a vacation OR a “staycation”. Instead, every year in November and December when he is off work from his job at the IRS, Ben Rivera spends 40 hours a week volunteering at the Angel Tree warehouse in South Austin, helping ensure that needy children have a happy Christmas. You can watch our Angel Tree time lapse video here to get a glimpse into the warehouse and this awesome operation!

For the last six years, Ben has been volunteering with the Angel Tree Program at the Christmas Cheer Warehouse. The Salvation Army can always count on him to get the job done. Ben has saved The Salvation Army in excess of $47,000 through his generous volunteer efforts. Wow!! It’s amazing how his dedication has added up!

Ben is an unassuming person – going quietly about the work he does so well. He directs other volunteers and assists staff as needed during the hectic holiday season. The best part is, he does all this with a contagious smile and positive spirit.

So, it is easy to see why Ben is the Majic 95.5 Salvation Army Volunteer of the Month for January, 2014. Thank you, Ben!