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Spreading holiday cheer for all to hear

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CHAMPAIGN - A man is singing and ringing his way into people's hearts this holiday season. And he's doing it all for a good cause.

Jimmie Rodges starts every morning at 11AM. And he's not done until everyone walking by has a smile on their face and a song in their heart.

"When I was in high school, I used to sing in the chorus," said Rodges. "So a lot of the Christmas carols are still in my mind, that's all."

Last year he was assigned to ring his bell at the Sam's Club in Champaign. This year, he said the store specifically asked him to come back. So for eight hours a day, he spreads Christmas cheer by singing and ringing and singing some more. You'd think by now he'd be losing his voice, but he's still going strong.

"People come down and bring coffee and tea sometimes so that helps me to keep going," said Rodges.

He said it feels good to give back to the red kettle campaign, especially since the Salvation Army has done so much for him.

"When I first got here, I was homeless and they took me in," said Rodges. "It's just a beautiful place to stay and they try to help you get jobs and get back on your feet."

He said even if you can't afford to give, he's glad to share the reason for the season.

"Some people sometimes can't donate but just making them happy and seeing them smile and they come out and enjoy the music," said Rodges. "That's just the best thing about Christmas, just making people smile and being happy."

Rodges will be at the Champaign Sam's Club through Christmas Eve. You can stop by anytime between 11AM and 7 PM to say hello and sing along with him. 

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