Even though I work full time at The Salvation Army, every year I like to volunteer at least one evening and ring at one of the kettles located outside local businesses to help raise funds for our year round programs. I enjoy watching people stop and chat or take a moment in their busyness to give a little to those in need.
This year, as I rang in the cold, blustery weather, it was hard to imagine that each penny, nickel or dime dropped in the kettle is helping to fund a child attending a summer or music camp at a discounted cost. Also, so much focus this time of year is on Christmas toys and the seasonal food baskets, but as I heard the quarter drop in the kettle, I thought about how The Salvation Army food pantry is open all year long for those who need help just getting a decent meal on the table. The funds brought in through the kettles provide other important programs and services as well.
As I rang, I also thought about others who have volunteered by serving in one of our two thrift stores, giving out food through our food pantry, and ringing at the kettles. Santa, some of them rang bells for more than 100 hours last year! Now, that is a dedicated volunteer! I hope those people realize how their gift of time also has given to those in need.
This year, I was able to ring at the kettle with my husband and kids. I loved watching my family participate in something that is so important to me and The Salvation Army. They are fortunate because they also hear many stories (of course anonymously) of ways that change really makes a change every day in someone's life who comes in my office. As the Captain said not too long ago, The Salvation Army shield is the symbol that connects those who give to those who receive. Whether it's through emergency assistance, seasonal help or spiritual growth, every coin or dollar placed in the kettle allows The Salvation Army to give back directly to our community. This year I realized how the long term benefits of ringing the bell far outweigh the small sacrifice of time given during this season.
Blessings to you,
Please help by giving generously to the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army Santa Fund.
You can help make this a brighter holiday season for local families by making a contribution in person to any branch of M&T Bank or by mail to M&T Bank at 405 River Ave.; at the Salvation Army, 457 Market St.; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
The Santa Fund is a fundraiser organized by the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army to help local families in need.