FuBao Goldsberry, 19, rings the bell for The Salvation Army at Foodland IGA on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

FuBao Goldsberry, 19, rings the bell for The Salvation Army at Foodland IGA on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Every donation counts: Bell ringer brings unmatched energy to volunteer work

FuBao Goldsberry gives back in enthusiastic fashion

If you were at Foodland IGA at just after 5 p.m. Friday, you might have heard an energetic, bell-heavy version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

FuBao Goldsberry was the vocalist and the instrumentalist, ringing a small red and white bell with incredible speed. Though he only sang the song for a few moments, it was a fitting way to kick off his final Salvation Army shift of the season.

It’s hard to believe that anybody in town could have more holiday spirit than the 19-year-old Goldsberry. Even before his shift started, he was heartily wishing people a happy holiday season and a great new year, stopping once in a while to throw in a “ho, ho, ho” or two.

In his interview with the Empire, Goldsberry repeatedly and earnestly requested that this reporter pass along his holiday wishes to the paper’s readers. He also wanted people to know how valuable he believes the Salvation Army is.

“This is a big cause,” Goldsberry said. “This is a good cause and I really feel like people need to realize it’s really important for donations. Every donation counts.”

That last phrase is his go-to line when he’s ringing, and in conversation beforehand. Not only does every penny matter, he said, but every person is valuable. During his shift, he did his best to make sure everyone felt that, whether they donated or not.

[Juneau teen named ‘hero’ for helping homeless]

Goldsberry has been ringing for the Salvation Army since 2014, adding it to the ways he gives back to the community. Since he was adopted as a baby from China, Juneau has been his home. He said Juneau offers a variety of organizations and activities for people with disabilities, including him, and he tries to give back as much as he can.

He volunteers with Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) as well, especially with the ORCA program that sets up outdoor activities. He was volunteering with ORCA just before coming over to Foodland on Friday.

That desire to give back has been in him from a young age, his adopted mother Claire said. One instance from his younger days stands out.

“He found out that our friends had a house fire,” Claire said, “and he showed up at school the next day and just asked his teacher, ‘Can I raise money for the Red Cross?’ That was without prompting.”

When he’s not volunteering, Goldsberry likes to go boating, work with beads, ski and play music. He plays drums, and has performed at Folk Fest a few times in a band known as FuBao and Friends.

If his bell-ringing is any indication, Goldsberry probably can play drums at a fast tempo. His wrist moves rapidly, sending a flurry of dings into the grocery store and parking lot. He’s impossible to miss, even from the frozen food section.

[Photos: Christmas lights in Juneau]

Maj. Shane Halverson, who leads the local Salvation Army corps along with his wife Gina, said this year has been more or less on pace with the fundraising amounts from the past couple years. The number of volunteers was about average this year, he said, and he said they’ve greatly appreciated the efforts of all the volunteers.

“None of them are quite as energetic as FuBao,” Halverson said.

That positive energy extends to others during Goldsberry’s shift. Multiple people stop in their tracks, put down their groceries, dig into their wallets or pockets and find a little money to give. Goldsberry thanks them profusely, often tapping his chest just over his heart as a person drops money into the red kettle.

On Friday, Goldsberry wore a blue shirt under the Salvation Army’s red apron, with a black jacket on. A Santa hat topped off the outfit. When the automatic doors open to the outside, chilly air rushes in. Goldsberry, who has rung the bell at Fred Meyer and Foodland, said he’s almost never cold when he’s ringing.

“I’m not too hot and I’m not too cold,” Goldsberry said. “I’m just perfect.”


• Reporter Alex McCarthy wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Contact him at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in Home2

The author’s wife fights a steelhead while the author contemplates fly selection. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: The fear of missing fish

Student: “You know, FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out” Me: “I know… Continue reading

Astrophysicists Lindsay Glesener, left, and Sabrina Savage enjoy the sunshine on an observation deck at the Neil Davis Science Center on a hilltop at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Waiting for the sun at Poker Flat

POKER FLAT RESEARCH RANGE — Under a bluebird sky and perched above… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire File)
Community calendar of upcoming events

This is a calendar updated daily of upcoming local events during the… Continue reading

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor in a profile picture at the Department of Law’s website. (Alaska Department of Law photo)
Dunleavy wants a state sponsored legal defense fund

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its second hearing on a… Continue reading

Juneau School District administrators and board members listen to a presentation about the district’s multi-million deficit during a Jan. 9 meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The twisted logic of the Juneau School Board recall petition

The ink was hardly dry on the Juneau School District (JSD) FY… Continue reading

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Feb. 22 as school board members meet to consider proposals to address the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: The last thing Juneau needs now is a divisive school board recall campaign

The long-postponed and necessary closure and consolidation of Juneau schools had to… Continue reading

Purple mountain saxifrage blooms on cliffs along Perseverance Trail in early April. (Photo by Pam Bergeson)
On the Trails: Flowers and their visitors

Flowers influence their visitors in several ways. Visitors may be attracted by… Continue reading

Most Read