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Bell Ringing Fills Need For Jobless Woman

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho - One of the traditional sounds of the season also represents a job opportunity for many unemployed workers. Last year, Salvation Army bell ringers collected $142 million in spare change in those little red pots. One bell ringer has found that every little bit helps.

“My name is Kari Turner, and I'm a bell ringer.”

Kari stands just inside the sliding doors at the K-Mart in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

“When the doors open it gets a little breezy, but I bundle up pretty good.”

“You know when they come in the door you want to say good morning or Happy Thanksgiving, you know look them in the eye and smile at them.”

Kari hasn't always felt like smiling this year.

“It's been very tough, yeah. Right now, I've been living at the women's shelter.”

Kari Turner is a Salvation Army bell ringer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Photo by Jessica Robinson
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Kari Turner is a Salvation Army bell ringer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Photo by Jessica Robinson

She's bounced around to different jobs.

“Caretaking, carpentry work ...”

But these days, things have been looking up. She found this job, she has plans to go back to school in January.

“Maybe I'm living at the shelter and ringing a bell for a living, but I'm happy and I'm excited and I have a lot of hope.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.