RINGING BELLS for the Salvation Army stretches beyond simply accepting donations for a charity that does good in my community. It’s also an opportunity to bring joy to someone needing something as basic as a friendly greeting and a warm smile.
When I ring, I make eye contact with everyone approaching me. Not because I want to guilt anyone into giving. Rather, I want to welcome them with a smile, a good morning/afternoon and, most often, a Merry Christmas. That’s my nature, to be friendly. Whether an individual can, or chooses to, give, remains their personal choice. I understand the finances of the senior citizen who apologized for not giving, citing limited Social Security income and mounting medical bills. He didn’t have to explain. Those who can and want to give, will.
For the first time ever in my seasons of ringing bells, I watched as a woman emptied the bulging contents of her coin purse into the red kettle. Her gift meant as much as that of a 40-something guy who dropped a few coins in the slot and remarked that every coin counts. He’s right. From the $20 donation to the $1 bills and pennies shoved in by children, every gift holds value to help someone in need.
I am grateful for the generosity in the Faribault community ($2,620 on December 2) and especially for those young parents who parcel coins and bills into the hands of their little ones. When one of those children asked to ring the bell on Saturday, I obliged. That sparked an idea. Maybe next year I will hand the bell to every kid who donates and offer them a chance to ring for a moment. And I’ll continue with my tradition of handing out candy kisses to youth.
I will continue also to greet those I meet with friendliness, even if some react with unkindness, something I experienced for the first time this year. The meanness won’t deter me. I am determined to keep a positive attitude, to do the best I can as a volunteer, as a human being, to extend kindness to those I greet while stationed at the red kettle. If my smile can brighten one person’s day, then I am grateful.
FYI: If you are interested in volunteering with the Red Kettle Campaign in Rice County, call (507) 334-0639 or email faribaultbellringer at gmail.com, northfieldbellringer at gmail.com or lonsdalebellringer at gmail.com, depending on location. You can also sign up online at this link: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4dacab2faafd0-2017
Bell ringers are desperately needed as the local chapter strives to reach its goal of $50,000. As of Monday, donations totaled $10,478, according to Ed Little, co-chair of the local Red Kettle Campaign. Last Saturday in Rice County, an anonymous donor matched donations with a $2,500 gift. On December 15 and 16, an anonymous donor will once again match county donations, this time up to $5,000.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING to do in Faribault this weekend?
The Faribault Woolen Mill hosts a Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday featuring gourmet goodies, give-aways, store specials and more. Bring a Toys for Tots donation and get a free gift.
Pop into the historic Farmer Seed and Nursery to view the many beautiful themed Christmas trees with ornaments available for purchase. The store opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, closes at 5 p.m.
On the east side of Faribault, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School opens its campus to the public for the annual Campus Christmas Walk. The Saturday event begins at noon with a free Figure Skating Holiday Show in the sports complex. Following that, from 1 – 3 p.m., enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and ornament making and cookie decorating in Morgan Refectory. Nearby, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at The Inn from 1 – 4 p.m. Stop at Shumway Hall between 1 – 3 p.m. for a sleigh ride. And then end your campus visit by taking in the half hour Holiday Concert in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd beginning at 3 p.m.
Pop into the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault’s historic downtown from 1 – 4 p.m. Saturday to shop at the Winter Farmer’s Market for locally-grown/raised produce/meats, baked goods and more. Also check out the work of local artists available for purchase in the PCA gift shop during the Holly Days Sale. Don’t miss the display of creches in the art gallery. And in the evening, take in “Coconuts and Mistletoe,” a holiday play performed by the Paradise Community Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In this comedy, Santa conspires with spies to save Christmas.
In between all those events, be sure to shop at the the many home-grown businesses in our community.
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
I love ringing bells but haven’t done it since we moved here. The slots for our church always get filled really quickly and I just haven’t gone online to find another place or time to do it. I put my first donation in the kettle yesterday as a matter of fact. I would love to visit the Paradise display of nativity sets—-that is one of my favorite things about this time of year is seeing the different ones. What a lovely weekend one could have in Faribault this weekend!
Thank you for ringing bells in the past. You possess such a giving spirit as evidenced by your monthly Comments for a Cause on your blog. Readers, check out Beth Ann’s blog.
You are doing a delightful job of heightening my Christmas joy! Love seeing your photos. I have a photo of my husband and son ringing the bell at the red kettle. I guess I can’t attach it to a comment? Its one of my favorite photos. So thanks for ringing. Like your idea of letting the kids have a turn!
Thanks to your husband and son for ringing. As far as attaching a pic, I have no idea, but probably not an option.
Wow, that is a lot of activities going on in Faribault. We have made plans to go to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Thanks for the information.
Maybe we’ll see you there. Be sure to dress warm for the figure skating show. You will get cold sitting there watching. I learned after the first year.
We need more of that!
Yes, we do. I’m delighted to have seen so many young families donating to the Red Kettle Campaign.
Merry Christmas to all who have the spirit and to those who could surely use it!!! Thanks to all who sponsor the Salvation Army and to what it stands for at Christmas time and throughout the year.
Amen, Jake, amen.
Not only is this for a great cause but the bells sound so cheerful on cold winter days
I heard a story on the news last evening about a disable man who rings bells at the Mall of America for 10 hours straight. I don’t recall all of the details, but I was crying by the time the segment had finished. Now that’s dedication and service to others.
Yes, so very true