For these friends, bell ringing (with a little singing) is a holiday tradition

They've been doing it for years, and invite others to join them.
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:14 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 9:29 PM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, the Salvation Army on Maui is only at 34% of their red kettle goal.

They need more volunteers like Matthew Kailihou to help them.

“I help the Salvation Army so they can help people who are less fortunate than me,” said Kailihou.

Kailihou, 73, has been volunteering with the charity for almost 50 years.

“My former mentor and pastor called me up and said, ‘Hey, you want to do some volunteer work?’ I said, ‘Sure!’ Then he introduced me to the Salvation Army red kettle, and so we’ve been doing it every season,” Kailihou said.

Every Monday and Wednesday evening, Kailihou and his friends sit outside Walmart in Kahului spreading Christmas cheer.

Sitting around the red kettle, he plays his ukulele, a friend plays his guitar, another friend rings the bell. They put everyone in the Christmas spirit. He even invites the public to join him.

“Everybody can sing,” he said. “If they can dance, it’s better yet.”

The Salvation Army relies on volunteers like Kailihou to help them raise money for those in need not only during the holidays, but all year long.

“Our theme this year is Love Beyond and really that means we love beyond Christmas,” said Captain Steven Howard, Salvation Army Maui County Coordinator. “While we do a lot of assistance at Christmas time, we still show that love and support for the community beyond Christmas into the coming year.”

The Salvation Army helps approximately 25 million Americans a year and is active in 131 countries around the globe.

“We still see a number of people even coming out of the pandemic that are in need, and some of those numbers have gone up this year. By you giving what you can at Christmas time helps us help those neighbors in your communities,” Capt. Howard said.

Kailihou said he will be volunteering as long as he can.

“I’ll do it as long as the good Lord allowed me to live.”

So if you see him, or any volunteer, let them know they are appreciated.

“If you want to volunteer … by all means, just notify the Salvation Army and let them know that you want to volunteer and they will find a spot for you,” Kailihou said.

Red kettles are up until Christmas Eve.

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