Silver (well gold actually) Bells…

Last year, my family began a new Christmas tradition of volunteering for a shift of Salvation Army “bell ringing.”

Going to a small Christian college (Asbury University) in Kentucky, my wife and I had several friends who were members of the Salvation Army. Their presence was strong in the campus orchestra and stage band. And every Christmas break, hundreds of us would line up for a winter job standing on the street corner ringing bells. In those days we were on a quarter system, so we’d have up to five weeks of steady work before we came back.

I rang at the corner of Fordham and Grand Concourse in the Bronx, NY. For a naive young 19-year-old from Southwest Virginia, it was an eye opening experience. Those of us who did that while in college all have our stories and we love to share them when we get together. So, we have fond memories of the Salvation Army and the work they do.

Realizing that we needed to give our youngest an opportunity to give back to the less fortunate, we signed up last year for a shift. Shifts here in Richmond come in 2-hour blocks. Really a small commitment when you think about it. Although last year the temperature was somewhere in the 20s. Yesterday it was much more comfortable and the time seemed to go by faster.

The tradition of the kettles begain in 1891 with Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee in San Fransisco. Some six years later the tradition spread across the country to Boston. Today in the U.S. alone, the Salvation Army asists more than four and a half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

Miss the bell ringers this year?  You can Donate Online.

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