A few weekends ago, my good friend, who was the bell-ringing coordinator in her area, roped me into ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I arrived at Tops and received my apron, bell and candy canes. Once my friend had set up the donation bucket and Salvation Army sign, she bid me goodbye. Thus began three hours of bell ringing.
It was quite fun when the store was actually busy. I really liked to try to guess what each person was thinking. For instance, I couldn’t help but laugh as I imagined the people who briskly walked past me with their heads down thinking, “You can’t see me. You can’t see me!” And then there were the people who seemed genuinely excited to donate. Some even mentioned how they always kept change in their hand during this time of the year just in case there was a bell ringer outside the store. Their generosity warmed my heart.
How Does Kettle Season Work?
Kettle Season for the Salvation Army is more than just buying Facebook likes or buying Twitter followers with their good intentions. It’s a program that involves a lot of hard work dedication and freezing fingers (I say this out of experience). Each church has a designated coordinator who has the important job of counting and recording donations, scheduling volunteers and transporting volunteers.
You should have seen my friend on the day I went to volunteer! She was picking up and dropping off volunteers every two hours! What’s more, this is something she does every single day. I couldn’t help but appreciate her dedication.
Of course, the volunteers are also an extremely important part of the Kettle Season. I met some volunteers who stood literally the entire day. From 8am to 8pm, they were out there in the cold. Yet again, I was humbled by their sacrifice.
Where Does the Money Go?
Here is the important part. Where does all this donated change end up? According to the Salvation Army website, the money gets funneled right back into the community that donated it. As a matter of fact, more than a whopping 6 million people per year are helped through these important donations.
Toys are distributed to children, food is provided for families and small, practical gifts and clothing are given to shut-ins. On top of that, the specific programs are run for the impoverished throughout the entire year. These programs give job training, financial assistance, emergency and transitional shelter, food, day care and much more. In bigger communities, the church takes it a step further by aiding drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and hospice care for AIDS victims. All of these things would not be possible if it weren’t for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Season.
There is Hope
I am here to tell you that there is hope for the issue of social inequality. There are people and organizations out there who understand how difficult it is for the impoverished to move up the financial ladder. They are working to bridge the gap between the rich and poor and it doesn’t look like they are going to give up on that fight anytime soon.