Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Happy to ring Salvation Army bells on a balmy Minnesota morning December 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:22 PM
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Gary and Barb work the 10 a.m. to noon bell-ringing shift at Walmart south.

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo of 2013 Salvation Army bell ringing.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE 25 degrees can make.

The temp felt downright balmy ringing bells for the Salvation Army outside the north entrance of the Faribault Walmart this morning.

A year ago, at the south entrance, my husband and I rang bells in temps that hovered around a bone-chilling zero degrees Fahrenheit. Numerous times we stepped inside to warm up.

But this morning the sun shone bright upon us during our 10 a.m. to noon shift. It was lovely. No need to head to the bathroom to thaw hands under the heat of a hand dryer. This was an orange shorts topped by a Green Bay Packers jacket kind of morning, per the attire of one Walmart customer.

In true typical Minnesota talk, numerous folks commented on the beautiful weather. We couldn’t have agreed more. Standing in the outdoors for two hours in 25 degree weather felt almost tropical compared to the bundled up with minimal skin exposed temps of a year ago.

We were happy to be there, no matter the weather.

This marks my second year of bell ringing. And, like last year, I used eye contact and a friendly greeting to welcome folks, whether they gave or not.

And so many gave—from the smallest tyke hoisted to the kettle by a parent to the elderly man shuffling across the parking lot to the woman waiting for a taxi to the family with five children who gave on their way in, and then out of, the store.

I appreciated the kind words of several who thanked us and held dear an elderly woman’s words, “God bless you.”

It touches me deeply when parents pause so their children can drop coins and bills into the kettle. We thanked those children by handing out kisses—chocolate candy kisses. And I thanked the parents, too, for teaching their children to give.

In this season of spending, I hope you will donate to a charity to help those in need. Who knows, some day that person in need may be you, or me.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling