My friend, Stephanie West-May is the Director for our local Salvation Army. Stephanie played on my Newnan Fanatics Soccer team with me several years ago. She is many years my junior and I always admired her talent on the soccer field. I have kept up with Stephanie and her family through Facebook. It is a wonderful venue for staying in touch with friends. I prayed for their family when Jon, her husband, was going through his ordeal with Swine Flu. I cried and rejoiced when he was finally able to return home. It seemed to be a miracle! Through Facebook, I have been so excited for them at the births of Silas, and Jordan. It is so nice to celebrate their milestones via Facebook.
Stephanie sent out a request on Facebook for Kettle bell ringers. I never had thought about doing something like that before. Since I had just had bilateral knee replacement surgery in September, I wondered if my knees would hold out from standing on concrete two hours? Ahhhh, why not? I sent her a message and she put me in contact with the Kettle Coordinator, Matt Bullard. He hooked me up with a shift at Walmart, Grocery side that next Monday.
Monday morning at 9:00, I’m there with my kettle and bell. It is cold and pouring rain, but fortunately, I am able to stand under the awning. My clothing is layered topped with a Santa hat. Let the Observations begin! I am worried that my wrist will give out or I will not be coordinated enough to ring the bell left handed. But I did just fine. Nine in the morning isn’t a very busy time. People were trickling in. Not many wanting to make eye contact. I made a point to smile and say good morning to everyone. Most reciprocated. The ones putting the coins and bills in the kettle were mostly the ones who were not dressed in the nicest clothes. Many had torn coats. A lot of them were apparently in their working attire. Paint covering their clothing, or a tool belt. The ones who were dressed very nice were the ones avoiding eye contact, and were not returning my “Good Morning”. Just an observation from a two hour shift….mind you. The children were very sweet. The small ones oblivious, really as to the real reason they were giving, but happy to drop some coins in a kettle. And smiling as they hear my “Thank You” and “Merry Christmas”. The true highlight of the morning was a certain young couple. The man came up and emptied his pockets of coins and dropped them all in the kettle. He turned to me and said. “I wish we had more to give. The Salvation Army helped my mama give us Christmas when we were kids. Otherwise we would have had nothing.” He then thanked me and said “Merry Christmas”. I thanked them, and fighting the lump in my throat, bid them a Merry Christmas as well. A while later they came from the store. They both had a dollar in their hand. They brought the dollars over and put them in the kettle. The man again bemoaned that he wished he had more. Now that in itself made my morning! I also had a car pull up to the curb, a woman handed me a twenty out the window and was so nice to me about my having to stand out in the rain. (although I was really under the awning) I heard many stories from people as they gave their monies. It was heartwarming. I have to say, I didn’t receive a lot of negativity. I only had one Grumpy “GUS” tell me the bell was annoying. On another note, There must have been five or six people who came out walked to the parking lot, then came back to the front of the store admitting to me they had forgotten where they had parked! Oh MY GOODNESS! I’ve done that before but I didn’t realize it was an epidemic! HAHA Those poor people. They eventually found their cars…..some even donated!
The bell ringing experience was a positive one for me. I would recommend it for anyone. It is an awesome thing to be able to help out, even if it is in a small way.
Salvation Army: Doing the Most Good!