HAYS — Bell ringers for The Salvation Army of Ellis County will stay toasty warm while they ring their bells for holiday donations from Walmart, Dillon’s and Hobby Lobby shoppers this winter.

The Hays Lions Club has seen to that, with four new wooden-frame huts, outfitted with portable electric heaters and a metal shop stool.

Warren Shaffer with the Hays Lions Club is ramrodding the project.

“It’s harder to get volunteers without the huts,” said Shaffer. “If you tell them there’s no heat and they’re going to be standing out in the cold, they won’t volunteer. This is an important time of the year for The Salvation Army, they have to raise $40,000. It’s their biggest fundraiser.”

Matt Kinderknecht, Heartland Building Center Inc., 2510 General Hays Road, loaded, delivered and unloaded two of the huts with a forklift and flatbed truck at Walmart on Friday in late November.

“This looks really good,” said Shaffer, eyeing the delivery and set up at Walmart.

It was Julie Smith, coordinator for the Salvation Army of Ellis County, who made the plea a week ago to her donors for help.

“The Lions Club, we just sprung into action,” Shaffer said. Each hut, with labor and materials, is about $1,000 each.

“He gave me a picture of it and I went off of that,” Budke said. “We painted it red to give it the Christmas look.”

When bell ringing season is over, Shaffer said, the Lions will have a 40-foot shipping container in which to store the huts.

“So when they’re not in use over the holidays, we’ll put them in there and they’ll last for 25 years,” he said. “The Lions, we’re going to do it and do it right, and plan for the future. We’re so happy to do it and give The Salvation Army our support.”