Bell-ringing record close at hand for local Salvation Army volunteer

Butch Soriano was still full of holiday cheer Thursday afternoon, six hours into what will hopefully be a record-breaking shift ringing a Salvation Army bell outside Macy’s in Union Square.

“Merry Christmas!” Soriano yelled to every shopper who dropped a dollar in the iconic red kettle. “Thank you!”

Soriano, 44, of Pacifica, is among 24 Salvation Army volunteers nationwide attempting to break the world record for holiday bell-ringing — 36 hours.

He won’t be allowed to eat, sleep or even sit down. Water, juice or electrolyte drinks are allowed, but no protein drinks. He gets a 10-minute bathroom break every four hours.

There is no prize for this sleep-depriving challenge, only personal satisfaction, which Soriano said is enough for him.

“I believe in what we do: raising money to help the local community,” he said.

Soriano, who works in the Salvation Army’s finance department, has been volunteering as a holiday bell ringer for the past 17 Christmas seasons.

As if ringing a bell to raise money for needy families wasn’t enough of a contribution, Soriano will be at a food distribution center Christmas morning, wrapping up meals that will be delivered to homebound seniors.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

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