Do you hear what I hear?
While you’re out and about during the next six weeks or so, you will notice the sweet familiar sound of tiny bells ringing at store entrances.
It’s that magical time of year when Salvation Army bellringers don red aprons and stand beside bright red kettles to accept donations for holiday relief.
The sign over the kettle reads “Salvation Army. Doing the Most Good,” and those words are true.
For more than a century, the Salvation Army has responded to the needs of people of all ages, colors and walks of life who have somehow fallen into the position where they need help.
I have had the privilege of being a part of this volunteer family for 15 years.
I started writing about my experiences and found that once people understand what we are doing out there in the heat or the cold or the rain or even the snow, they want to help.
Sometimes when I’m ringing my little bell, people start to share their stories about why they donate.
The most common reason: They know what it’s like to need.
And they know how good it feels to get or receive even a little bit of help when you’re having a hard time seeing any light at the end of your tunnel.
Some of the stories are literally rags-to-riches. People who slide a $100 bill into the little red kettle are often those who remember when they didn’t have more than a few pennies.
Now that their blessings have flowed, the sound of that bell makes them want to “do the most good”.
Why do we do it? This army aims to spread help and peace.
It’s hard for people to listen to words of hope when they are hungry. So our mission is clear: Collect donations. Feed the hungry. Bring them words of hope and encouragement
Never turning away those truly in need, the Salvation Army extends its services to all who qualify for the help they can provide. And one of my favorite parts about the kettle/bell season: All monies collected are redistributed to those in the neighborhoods in which they are collected.
Fort Worth money goes to needy folks in Fort Worth. Arlington donations stay in Arlington. Never are the kettle donations flown across the country for other folks’ needs.
When we donate to the kettle, we are helping those closest to our home who need it most.
Those who want to join our family of volunteers can look up their local chapter of the Salvation Army on the Internet or the telephone book.
Every second you can give is needed. Encourage your family and friends to join you. You will never regret it.
Do you hear what I hear? Even though it’s only a tiny bell, the sound can be heard high above the trees, bringing a much-needed message of hope.
Hope is amazing.
Nadolyn Redmond is a writer and volunteer who lives in Fort Worth. firstname.lastname@example.org