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

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14 Responses to “Happy to ring Salvation Army bells on a balmy Minnesota morning”

  1. Rena Says:

    Wow! Good for you! I passed a bell ringer the other day and had no cash or change, but instead handed her several pieces of hard candy from my pocket. I told her I was sorry I had no cash, but she said the candy was much needed. After a bit of chatting, I offered to get her some coffee from a nearby BK. I really didn’t want to go out of my way, but it ended up ME being the one more blessed by the small deed! “Do small things, with great love.” – Mother Teresa. I believe charity is the heartbeat of the season… It’s good to find that one thing we can do to help others, isn’t it? Smiles and blessings to you, my sweet and kind Sister-in-Law!

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    I well remember last year’s temps!!!! This year, and the foreseeable days, are wonderful (if I can believe the forecasts!!!). Thank you for taking time to volunteer. Hugs…………………..

  3. I donated a food box and to a network that helps kids (St Jude’s).

  4. Jackie Says:

    Glad you had a comfortable morning for ringing the bell, And yes…..God bless you and Randy, such a wonderful way to serve 🙂

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    The North Iowa Bloggers are ringing bells twice at least this season. I started it last night at the loneliest kettle in Mason City but still had fun. It is so easy to do this and it really makes me smile to see people open up and put their change in the kettle. It is a simple way to make a little ripple, isn’ t it?

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    tyke hoisted to the kettle by a parent

    Generosity, like all good behavior, is taught. Children must learn that giving is fun. On the other hand, more mature people like myself must be reminded to keep a little change in their pocket, least they be glared at by their spouses who always remember to have something for the kettle….

  7. hotlyspiced Says:

    I remember you doing this last year and just how cold and miserable it was. But even though it’s 25F I still don’t think it’s shorts weather. Amazing how some people just don’t feel the cold. There’s a family I’ve come to know from Alfie’s swim squads (he swims twice a week much to his displeasure). In winter this family of five arrived week after week wearing shorts and thongs and I’d be sitting there with no less than five layers. It’s great that you enjoyed the day and I’m glad the sun was shining xx

    • I also thought shorts not warm enough for 25 degree temps. Also saw several others in short sleeve shirts. Not me. But you’re right. Some people are like that and can’t tolerate much warmth.

      We had a lovely morning ringing bells in the warm sunshine. Today it’s gloomy and cold with freezy rain predicted. Not good.


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