VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Russell Epps truly enjoys being a Salvation Army bell ringer, that he gets satisfaction out of volunteering.
"I'm doing something to pay it forward....satisfaction that I'm helping somebody," Epps said.
He says the December temperatures don't affect him, "I like being outside; the cold weather really doesn't bother me. I like meeting new people and everybody."
Leading up to Christmas you could find him outside a Virginia Beach Sam's Club, sometimes six days a week, pulling a nine hour shift and he stressed that no donation was too small.
"Every penny helps--a dollar, 10 cents, five cents, whatever you got--- put it the bucket when you walk past will help," he said.
Captain Nathan Bridges, with the Salvation Army's Hampton Roads Area Command, says 100 percent of the donated money helps local people who are struggling, "Helping with rent and utilities, stocking our food pantry year long. It goes toward enabling us to operate our men's homeless shelter, our women's transitional housing program called Hope Village. This isn't just a fundraiser at Christmas only, the funds we raise here in our kettle program, our largest fundraiser of the year, really go to last throughout the entire year."
Russell knows that first hand, "Well back in the 90s I needed help.....I needed food, I needed help with my utilities."
Russell says the Salvation Army was there for him---and he felt he needed to show his support by doing this---and he has been for the past 13 years which is why, News 3 presented him with a People Taking Action award.
"Aw man--oh wow! I can put this on the wall! Thank you--thank you!" And our our community partner Southern Bank is giving Russell a $300 Visa gift card, "Oh man! You gonna make me start crying out here! Thank you! Thank you!"