Belk Bans Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Ringers

Belk in Smithfield is one of 300 Belk locations in 16 states that have prohibited The Salvation Army from placing Red Kettle bell ringers outside the store this year. The decision will cost the Smithfield Salvation Army over $10,800 this year. Photo

What happened to the spirit of Christmas?

Apparently the Grinch has taken the Christmas cheer away from Belk, who has banned The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign at all of their stores.

Red Kettles are no longer allowed at entrances to Belk, including the Belk on N. Brightleaf Boulevard in Smithfield.

Belk did not actually give The Salvation Army any money but allowed kettle bell ringers to be stationed outside their main entrances for customers to donate.

The Smithfield chapter of The Salvation Army depends on funds from the Red Kettle campaign not only for the holiday season but for programs all year.  The Salvation Army collected $10,822 from the Smithfield Belk location in 2016 and are expected to be down that much this season unless other Red Kettle sites receive higher than normal donations.

Shelley Henderson, Divisional Communication Director for The Salvation Army of North and South Carolina, said Belk has been a great partner over the years but the company redirected their charitable giving programs for this year.  “The organizations where we ring have policies that guide when and where we can ring. We hope to sit down with Belk early in 2018 to discuss partnering in the future,” Henderson told WTSB in an email on Wednesday.

Belk has about 300 stores in 16 states. The decision will cost The Salvation Army about $1 million this holiday season alone.

According to Belk, they never had a formal relationship with The Salvation Army and left it up to individual stores each holiday season to decide if the Red Kettle bell ringers would be allowed.

Instead, Belk aid they are focusing this year on a fundraising campaign for Habitat for Humanity called “Home for the Holiday.” The program will collect money from all Belk stores in 16 states to build a home for a needy family.  Belk is collecting donations for Habitat for Humanity through Dec. 16th.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for the support of Belk over the years and we hope to ring the bells there in the future,” said Major Kari Booth, commanding officer of The Salvation Army of Smithfield. “Many thanks to Belk customers who have faithfully donated to the Red Kettles. Every dollar dropped in the kettle opens the door for at-risk youth, provides food for empty bellies, and helps families stay safe and warm in their homes. We are thankful for you.”

If you would like to help The Salvation Army in Smithfield you can find their Red Kettle bell ringers outside local Wal-Mart stores, Lowes Foods in Clayton, Carlie C’s IGA stores, Big Lots in Selma and Carolina Premium Outlets on Industrial Park Drive.

Some believe the move by Belk is part of a trend among large corporations to avoid faith-based groups raising funds.

If you would like to donation to The Salvation Army this Christmas or to volunteer to be a Red Kettle bell ringer call 919-934-9641. Financial contributions can also be mailed to: The Salvation Army, 306 N. Brightleaf Boulevard, Smithfield, NC  27577.   



  1. I wonder how Belk would feel if people decided to walk right on by their stores this Christmas buying season?…just sayin’

  2. Goodbye to shopping at Belk. I’ve about quit that store as customer service is non-existent there anyway. As a volunteer with the Rotary Club I spent a many an hour ringing that bell some times in freezing weather.

  3. Seems like a poor PR move.
    I personally don’t like the bell ringing but if they’re doing this to increase traffic into their stores, it’s almost certainly going to have the polar opposite effect.

  4. I don’t see why anyone would boycott Belks over this…Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful cause too. I love going to the Habitat restore in Goldsboro as they often have many good deals and finds there. There is also a restore in Wilson. If you want to donate to the Salvation Army no one at Belks is stopping you.

  5. Do Your reach on the red Bucket ,Its not what its suppose to b the high paying people get more of the money than any one else they have high paying jobs, Just check it out J/s

    • Beg to differ. You would not live on what Salvation Army Officers are paid. Just go ask and it doesn’t make any difference whether you are a Lt. or a Major or even the General they basically all make the salaries which are minimal. I am a volunteer, I see the financials and believe me I could not live on those salaries. They do it out of love for the Lord and love for their fellow man.

  6. Habitat is a very worthwhile cause whose funds go directly to its mission, unlike many other charities. It is really unkind–and uninformed– to impugn the company’s decision to direct its giving to an outfit such as Habitat. It serves a Christ- centered mission of housing the homeless. To suggest that it is less deserving than SA is just ignorant.

  7. I for one love this move, I will shop at Belk more often. The bell ringing is a nuisance and the money rarely goes to people in need. Good on you belk!!!

    • I absolutely agree. The bell ringing has always worked on my nerves. Why can’t they just put the bucket there with somebody to watch it without that gosh-forsaken ringing bell??? I would put money in it if I won’t in such a hurry to get away from that noise.

    • Approximately 90% goes to people in need. Please don’t make false statements. I have read the financials (have you) for 32 years as a volunteer and I know for sure that to money goes to those in need.

    • When I read comments like this I loose my faith in humanity. These fine men and women volunteer their time to help those in need, many spending countless hours in the cold weather just so that a child dying of cancer can have a Christmas gift.

  8. I sure hate to leave Belk, they sure have some nice ladies in the Pensacola store. Closing my account. I’m ending my relationship as they have Ended there’s at each entrance ,,,, With the Salvation Army.

  9. Personally I would rather see them at Belk’s, somewhere I don’t go that much. I hate seeing them camped out in front of the grocery stores. Sometimes one in front of each door, going in and coming out. How long does it take before you hit up everyone that goes in that store? So then they stand there ringing the bell and staring at the people that walk by like they’re the Grinch when they’ve already put money in the kettle but the person ringing doesn’t know that.

    • The people ringing those bells don’t care if you give or don’t give. They are simply there bringing your attention to the bucket.

      • After being told “thanks for nothing” on Saturday when I walked by one without giving again I would have to declare your statement untrue.

  10. Even though you may not like the bell ringing, just know that one day when you need a hand up, food, a roof over your head, due to tornado, fire or floods, The Salvation Army will be there to support you and help you in your time of need. Then you will learn what a blessing it is for those of us who love to hear the bells and love to put our pennies, nickels and dimes into the Red Kettle.

  11. This is a crock. I know for a fact that the $ goes to community programs. And the bell ringing? Bogus, lame complaint. You hear it for moments only while you’re barraged with holiday music nonstop inside the store. The Salvation Army kettles don’t bother anyone & do a lot of good. Won’t purchase one thing from Belk. And why does it have to be Habitat for Humanity OR the Salvation Army? This decision is lazy & selfish.

  12. It’s a shame, the only people that will be hurt by this are the kids, this is heartless. Why can’t they do both charities?

  13. Belk owns the stores, so they have the right to kick out those annoying bell ringers if they want to. They are annoying as hell, they should only be allowed to ring their bells at salvation army stores or church, and stop annoying people doing their holiday Shopping.

  14. Homecfor the holidays program im sure will offer discounts on thier store to those that get the new home good bye belk

  15. I have shopped at Belk’s for over 55 years and I even worked for them in High School but I will never spend another nickel in their store.
    Belk’s has forgotten that Christmas is about giving.

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