Salvation Army bell ringers no longer allowed on Paso Robles pos - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Salvation Army bell ringers no longer allowed on Paso Robles post office property

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Two non-profit groups starting their annual holiday fundraising Monday in front of the U.S. Post Office on 6th Street in Paso Robles were told they have to leave after nearly 40 years of fundraising at the location.

It was the first day of the season fundraising for the Salvation Army bell ringers and the North County Aquatics Swim Team when the postmaster came out and told the groups they have to move because of post office rules.

"We've never had any issues before, so I was really surprised to show up and find out we were quite literally kicked to the curb," said Linda Midkiff, a volunteer bell ringer and member of the Paso Robles Rotary.

The iconic red kettle and clanging bell moved to the sidewalk to collect money, while North County Aquatics decided to keep its booth in front of the building, despite the warning.

"We already have 120 shifts filled from now until Christmas, all of our families expecting to come here - and I know that is the same with the bell ringers," said Heather Moffitt, head coach for North County Aquatics swim team.

U.S. Postal Service regulations prohibit any organization from soliciting on its properties. But the two non-profits have become a mainstay during the holidays. This year, for some reason, the post office decided to enforce the rule.

"People are used to the Salvation Army being here every year and it's just sad that the post office doesn't want to be a part of that," said Todd Corgill, Paso Robles Rotary member.

Local post office representatives wouldn't talk on camera and instead directed KSBY to a communications representative in Sacramento.

"The rules and regulations governing conduct and postal service properties is something that is nationwide through all offices, not just this location," said Candace Cheaphon with the Coastal District Division of the United States Postal Service.

But the non-profits are concerned with safety on the sidewalk, with cars driving so close - not to mention the limited foot traffic.

"I'm sure that we'll feel this at the end of the season in terms on donations," said Todd Gorgill, Paso Robles Rotary member. 

The non-profit groups are hoping the post office will change its mind on the decision, as both plan to continue fundraising at the post office until Christmas.

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