They become so commonplace in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we almost stop noticing them amid the chaos. They’re the Salvation Army bell-ringers, strategically stationed at the entrances of our busiest shopping centers and stores.
The jingle in their red kettles does so much good for the people and the communities they serve. But long after the bells and kettles are put away until the next Christmas season, the needs go on. The Salvation Army is always expected to be there to help, too, and the troops for the Christian organization usually are.
We only see the volunteers all through the Christmas season, and we see that they help children in the areas they serve by looking at the all-too-full Angel Tree every year. But the Salvation Army helps the needy year ’round.
Here’s an example from a typical month, before the onset of the holiday season. In September, the local Salvation Army served 1,644 meals to people who stayed in the shelter and those in need of their services. The good people there, Majs. Raymond and Crystal Pruitt and volunteers, helped care for 77 people in the shelter that month alone. There were 46 new admissions that month.
They helped serve 106 people outside the shelter in their communities — that includes Jasper, Wayne, Clarke, Smith and Simpson counties, in addition to Jones.
By September, any money that was collected in kettles is long gone. So how does the Salvation Army sustain its ability to do good works throughout the year, after the bells are tucked away? And what can you do to help?
That’s easy. You can help the charity — and yourself — by shopping at its Thrift Store on 13th Avenue. There are a lot of great deals in there on all sorts of items, from clothes to electronics. It’s like the ultimate general store. It relies on donations there, too, so all of the purchased items are given to help with the good works that the Salvation Army does all year.
There aren’t any bell-ringers or kettles outside, so there’s no fumbling for change or awkward, fast-walking, pretending to be on the cellphone to get past them. Everything that goes in the cash register goes to help people in need. And you can get great merchandise for great prices. It’s the ultimate win-win.