Salvation Army shield

Ringing the Bells

by Jay on December 18, 2009

Watching the Snow Begin While Ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army.

Spending an hour in the cold ringing the bell and trying to collect money for the Salvation Army isn’t the least bit praiseworthy especially when compared to the people in the Salvation Army who devote their lives to helping people in trouble and trying to bring purpose back to their lives.

In fact, it’s a little bit selfish on my part because it dependably puts me in a better mood during a season I would usually just as soon fast forward through. Here’s why.

1. It forces you to look at people’s faces. At the entrance to Wal Mart you see all kinds.  The whole color spectrum, some dressed well, some not so well, some tired, some lively, some old, some young.  It’s also a reminder of what an International city Durham is becoming. Many will meet your eyes and wish you a Merry Christmas and it’s almost like making a new friend. Some will shuffle by pretending you’re not there. But it’s always interesting.

2. It’s always reaffirming that the vast majority of people are generous.  In fact, the surprising thing is how generous some people are who don’t look like they have two nickles to rub together but dig for loose change or a few bills. This year change seemed to be out of style; people were folding bills up and sticking them in the bucket.

3. It’s always a chance to spend a few minutes during a slow period getting to know a fellow Rotarian a little better. This year my partner was Lee White… a born and bred Durhamite who is a social media expert…a topic I’m interested in, obviously…but what we talked about was his family’s Christmas tradition of cooking a country ham that they get downtown at Stone Brothers and Byrd. Yum. Now their Christmas morning gathering is a party I would be tempted to crash way before a White House state dinner…(but it is the White house.) Lee and I took over from Steed Rollins and Sam Nichols both in banking and were relieved after our shift by Brant DeLoatche and Milton Whaley both long time vets of the club and bell ringing.

4. It’s always encouraging to see how many parents put money in the hands of their children to put in the bucket. In the years of doing this I’ve never seen a kid balk at giving the money and try to keep it. Good parents.

5. Finally, the cup of coffee you have when you finish is the best of the week.  A warm stomach and a warm heart make it much easier to endure the season.

If you missed the bell ringers at Wal Mart or were doing your shopping at Nortstroms, the Salvation Army makes it easy to donate securely online at their site.  Click the image to go there.

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