The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.
Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.
Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.
Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”
Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.
One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.
For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:
Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.
Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!
It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?
After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”
Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.
The Salvation Army is featuring something new on our national website!
In the bottom right corner you’ll find an interactive poll with questions about current issues related to our mission of serving people in need.
Survey questions will change every week, so be sure to visit our site and offer your feedback. And thanks to our instant poll results, you’ll also be able to see how other online visitors voted.
We want to hear from you! Come tell us what you think at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Dallas Cowboys greats Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman announced that The Salvation Army will be the owner and operator of the newly announced Super Bowl XLV Youth Education Town (YET) in Arlington, TX.
The $2 million project will target homeless and at-risk youth in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, specifically those from neighborhoods that suffer from higher crime, drug, and gang activity levels.
The Salvation Army is honored to be a part of this initiative and have the opportunity to expand service to the community.
What exactly will the center have to offer? Everything from a fitness area and athletic fields to computer labs, music instruction, film and video production and more. Adult continuing education and drug prevention programs will also be offered, along with an expansion of The Salvation Army’s emergency financial assistance program, food pantry, and after-school programs. Learn more about NFL YETs here.
Officials say they even hope to finish it before the 2012 Super Bowl! Get more details at Dallas Morning News.
Did you know that 1 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day?
On Sunday, October 10 (10.10.10), an organization named Micah Challenge is bringing together 10,000,000 people through its worldwide Lend A Hand campaign which calls for united commitment to remembering and seeking justice for impoverished people. The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) is partnering with Micah Challenge in this commitment to the poor.
The Lend a Hand campaign comes in response to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals to reduce world poverty by half by 2015. The campaign is a push for individuals and world leaders to not give up on this promise.
If you’d like to ‘lend a hand’ to this effort, all you need to do is:
Lend a Hand Campaign 10.10.10
1. PRAY on 10.10.10 with millions around the world for justice for the world’s poor.
2. PROMISE to be part of bringing change and commit to living a life of justice. Symbolize this promise by making a hand-print!
3. PRESS your leaders for their wholehearted commitment to eradicating poverty. Mail your handprints to Micah Challenge, who will deliver these powerful symbols as a message to President Obama. (Send to: Micah Challenge USA, 17 SE 3rd Ave. #310, Portland, OR 97214)
To sign up, or to find more information and useful materials for the Lend a Hand Campaign, visit http://micahchallenge.us/action/lendahand.html.
Leaders and members of Salvation Army churches will find helpful resources on this page specifically dedicated to helping their congregations participate in this initiative: http://micahchallenge.us/action/salvation-army.html.
Thanks for your helping hands in the global fight against extreme poverty!