The Bells Are Ringing

 

                It’s that time of year again. The sights and sounds of the season are all around us. Christmas tree lightings are being planned, turkeys are being thawed and Salvation Army Bell Ringers are shining up their bells for the 125th annual Red Kettle Campaign. 

                The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettle will be seen across the country beginning this week.  Some look forward to hearing those bells and teaching their children the value of placing that dollar in the kettle to help others in need.  Others may see the bell ringer as an annoyance. Have you ever paid a bell ringer to STOP ringing their bell? I have thought about it a time or two, but never had the courage to actually follow through. Many will hear the bell, see the kettle and walk on by. As I thought about this, I wondered if people know where the money that is put in that kettle actually goes. And, if they did, would that make a difference in the way they respond to the sound of the bell and the sight of the kettle?

                Although the kettles are out during the Christmas season, they impact the work that The Salvation Army is able to do throughout the year. The more money that is raised through the red kettle campaign, the more people who will be given a hand up to put them back on their feet. This is the largest single fundraising campaign that The Salvation Army does each year.

                Amber and her children have been staying at The Salvation Army Center of Hope where they are fed three meals a day, given warm beds to sleep in and have access to resources to get them set up in their own home.  Jamal lost his father a year ago. Since then, his mom has been doing the best she can to provide for their family. The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, thanks to its low cost after-school care, pick him up from school, help him with his homework and provide a safe environment where he can play and build relationships.  The Maxwell family lost everything in a recent house fire and without the help of The Salvation Army, Christmas would be just another day.  Thanks to the Angel Tree program and generous donations to help purchase toys, the children will celebrate Christmas with smiles on their faces and presents in their stockings.

                You see, the money that you put into that red kettle really does make lasting change possible.  What may seem like a small amount to you, adds up when everyone does their part and gives. Imagine if everyone who passed by a red kettle put in one dollar. The Salvation Army would have the financial resources to help more people get back on their feet, so that they could then place a dollar in that kettle and help their neighbor. 

                This year, I challenge you to think about Amber when you see a kettle.  I ask that you think of Jamal when you think about walking by and I ask that you think of the Maxwell family, as you reach for that dollar bill. That few minutes of your life will, coupled with your neighbors, make lasting change possible in the lives of those who need it most.

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