LODI -- The Salvation Army says they are in dire need of bell ringing volunteers this holiday season. The money helps pay for programs that help people in need get back on track.
Rachelle Nagy says her life was in ruins -- she was addicted to meth and she and her husband were living out of their car on the streets of Lodi.
“It was no life. We were simply existing,” she said.
That empty shell of a life was more than a year ago for Nagy. With cutting determination and help from the Salvation Army, she says she’s turned her life around.
“It was because I was broken, I suffered from hurts, habits and hangups and an addiction,” Nagy said.
Nagy is one of the hundreds of recovering drug addicts who learn how to properly chop, slice and cook through the Culinary Arts Program.
The Salvation Army says the Culinary Arts Program here in Lodi is in its 10th year and in that time, more than 95 percent of students, within days of graduating, find jobs.
This program gets financial backing from the Salvation Army’s most iconic yearly fundraiser.
“We are still in dire need of more volunteer bell ringers. Every year, unfortunately, we’re forced to hire a few folks if we don’t have enough folks to ring the bell for us,” said Mark Thielenhaus, corps officer with the Salvation Army.
If not enough volunteers step up Thielenhaus says they'll have to hire more bell ringers.
"Our need is close to 1,500, so we still need folks to sign up," he said.
For Nagy, the program has helped her land a job doing what she loves.
She’s now off the street, off drugs and says she is living a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
“I look forward to getting up every day. I feel very blessed to be where I’m at today,” Nagy said.