Salvation Army Bell Ringing Brings Hope

How a Salvation Army Bell Ringer Brings Heart to the Job

To hear Bruce Bachman tell it, he’s just a guy with a bell, a red apron and a heart to serve who gives a little of his time during the holiday season in North Richland Hills, Texas.

He’s just one of the thousands of volunteer bell ringers who keep alive a 127-year tradition that the Salvation Army traces to Capt. Joseph McFee, who set out a large, iron kettle in 1891 to collect funds for a Christmas dinner in San Francisco. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, the change, bills and occasional large checks and gold coins that Americans drop into about 25,000 kettles from coast to coast amount to roughly $150 million, said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, the Salvation Army’s national community relations and development secretary.

Some bell ringers wish passers-by a heartfelt “Merry Christmas” — and hope the kettle fills. But many others, like Bachman, have honed strategies and routines to make the most of the uncompensated work — for the Salvation Army and for all who come within earshot.

Just before 10 a.m. on a busy shopping day, the 61-year-old consulting engineer arrives at a Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store with a mailbox-sized stereo, a box of Christmas CDs and a plastic baggie full of hard candy.

“I bring the candy to suck on so I don’t have to drink as much water,” Bachman explains. He knows he won’t have time for meals or bathroom breaks, so he tries to be prepared (eating a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns ahead of time).

“Christmas bells and Christmas kettles are synonymous with the Salvation Army,” said Busroe, an ordained minister for the group.

He’ll stand outside for eight hours and — as a mix of Bing Crosby, Mannheim Steamroller and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” tunes plays — invite customers to donate to the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign.

“God bless you!” he tells a woman who pulls money out of her purse. “You have a very merry Christmas!”

“Hello, cutie!” he says in his best Donald Duck voice as 3-year-old Jubilee Longoria approaches the kettle with a handful of coins.

For the preschooler, the kettle and the bell are likely to become visual and auditory markers of the Christmas season, just as they have for generations before her.

Busroe heard one of those bells as he exited a subway station in New York recently, outside Macy’s department store. Some, he noted, believe that sidewalk Santa Clauses and Salvation Army solicitors in New York were the inspiration for the popular Christmas song “Silver Bells,” first recorded in 1950. (One of the song’s co-writers has disputed that.)

“Christmas bells and Christmas kettles are synonymous with the Salvation Army,” said Busroe, an ordained minister for the group, a Christian denomination that claims about two million members around the world and belongs to the National Association of Evangelicals.

The Salvation Army’s mission statement calls for it “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” (Though at times gay activists have called for boycotts of the kettle campaigns because the group believes gay sex to be a sin. Busroe blames the controversy on “misinformation and misconception.”)

“It’s all variety of walks of life and professions,” Busroe said of the volunteer bell ringers, most of whom do not belong to the Salvation Army church. “You have service clubs — Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist — and many of them in a local community will have competitions” to see which can raise the most money.

“Church groups will take a kettle for a day, a week or an entire season,” he added. “It’s all different groups of people, and we’re constantly needing volunteers.”

The annual funds raised enable the Salvation Army USA to provide more than 56 million meals and 10 million nights of shelter as well as youth programs, summer camps and adult rehabilitation services, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based organization.

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The Salvation Army Seattle

The Salvation Army continues to help homeless Vets

Jack Coleman is living proof that homelessness can strike at any time in someone’s life.

Coleman grew up in Los Angeles and joined the Army in 1965 after the Watts riots there that year made it hard for a young African-American man like him to get a job. He spent 27 years in the Army, initially serving in a supply station during the Vietnam War.

In 1981, in his early 30s, he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and watched many of his friends die of AIDS. He would become one of the longest-surviving HIV patients, but the diagnosis was devastating and “changed everything,” he now recalls.

After leaving the service with the rank of master sergeant, he worked for years in retail sales at high-end department stores in New York City. But eventually he was declared disabled because of his HIV status and deemed eligible for federal benefits.

At age 56, he began using crack cocaine with a close friend. He became an addict, he says, after not even being a drinker or smoker his entire life.

 For several years, his life spiraled downward into what he today refers to as the “darkness.”

Out of money, he walked for 3 ½ days from Atlanta, where he had been living, to Birmingham, Alabama, to enter an in-house drug-rehabilitation program. He spent two years there, under the assistance of the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).

About 10 years ago, he moved to Seattle to be closer to a sister.

 

Homeless, he contacted The Salvation Army at the VA’s recommendation. He was assigned bed number 84 at The Salvation Army’s William Booth Center in Seattle.

He stayed for several months before moving to an apartment for a time and then to San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

In July, Coleman returned to Seattle, again to be closer to family.

Having never forgotten the kindness of The Salvation Army, Coleman says, he went back to them for help. By happenstance, he was initially assigned to bed 84.

 “That was kind of karma. It was like it was meant for me to be there,” Coleman says of The Salvation Army, one of 12 nonprofits supported by reader donations to The Seattle Times’ Fund For The Needy… Read More
USN and The Salvation Army Angel Tree

Naval Academy’s Giving Tree program brings presents to kids in need

The blue, gold, silver and red ornaments hanging from a Christmas tree in Bancroft Hall were masked Tuesday morning by a blanket of 500 paper angels.

On each angel card there is a gender, an age and a Christmas list with wants, needs, and requests for clothing from local families. During the next two weeks students, staff and faculty will pull the cards from the tree and return with unwrapped gifts, fulfilling the requests of the anonymous children in need.

Midshipman First Class Louise Zhou picked a card for a 2-year-old girl, who needs wipes and Minnie Mouse toys and wants a kitchen set, a FurReal pet, a Baby Alive, a doll stroller and a tricycle with a helmet. She wears size 7 toddler shoes, and size 3T clothing.

The 22-year-old from Cincinnati said she picked that card because it reminds her of her little sister, who is four.

“Something like this, that is so small to us, brings a lot of joy to them,” she said.

Over the next two weeks Zhou and other midshipmen will purchase the items on the lists for local children in need, who will receive the presents through The Salvation Army. The campaign at the Academy is called the Giving Tree and it is organized by the 6th Company with support from the Midshipman Action Group. The tradition is now in its 27th year.

The Giving Tree is a part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree programThe Salvation Army provided the angel cards hanging from the tree.

The Salvation Army of Annapolis serves Anne Arundel County south of Glen Burnie, and this year will provide gifts for 1,010 children through the program. The Academy is the largest contributor of gifts, according to Salvation Army Commanding Officer Lt. Laurie Ferraez.

“It is because people in the community, people like you, so many children will be blessed this year,” Ferraez said.

The midshipmen, staff and faculty who take an angel card from the tree have until Dec. 11 to place their unwrapped gifts under the evergreen. The Salvation Army will distribute the gifts Dec. 19.

Zhou, who is chief of staff for the Midshipman Action Group, said she works together with her squad to purchase presents. Her squad adopts a child, and they all go out together to shop and otherwise work together to make the gifts extra special. It makes the experience more personal, and also helps unite the squad, which is composed of about 10 people.

“Instead of just doing one or two things off of here, we really go extra,” she said.

It was bare beneath the tree Tuesday, but by Dec. 11 the Christmas tree will be surrounded, said Midshipman First Class Taygan Grundy, a member of the 6th Company who helped organize this year’s event. The 22-year-old from California liked Tonka Trucks and anything outdoors-related as a child she said.

Christmas is a big deal in her family, she said. She considers her family fortunate, that they’ve been able to celebrate the holiday well, and celebrate the holiday together.

“There are a lot of families that don’t get that option, so to me, it is incredibly important to make sure that we support the community that allows us to go to school in their capital, that allows us to represent them on a national level,” Grundy said. “It’s the least we can do to make sure that our nation’s future has a Christmas we got to have when we grew up.”

A ceremony for the Giving Tree was held Tuesday. There Capt. Robert Chadwick, Commandant of Midshipmen, talked more about the Academy’s ties to Annapolis.

“I think we are truly blessed to be parked in the heart of this great city,” Chadwick said. “In my short time here I have seen that the brigade truly does embrace that relationship with Annapolis, and you do that through your generosity.”

The Giving Tree is another example of that generosity, he said, and a personal way to make a difference in the life of a child in Annapolis.

“As good as those angels look up there, I think they’re going to be scarce pretty soon,” he said.

Hanes donates to help The Salvation Army

Hanes National Sock Drive Celebrates #GivingTuesday by Donating 225,000 Pairs of Socks to Help the Homeless

In honor of #GivingTuesday (Nov. 28), Hanes is providing some comfort to those without the comforts of home during the holiday season.

America’s No. 1 apparel label has donated 225,000 pairs of socks to organizations fighting homelessn ...

America’s No. 1 apparel label has donated 225,000 pairs of socks and 18,000 pairs of underwear to organizations fighting homelessness across the United States as part of its eighth national sock drive. Since the program began in 2009, the brand has provided more than 2 million pairs of socks to help people experiencing homelessness.

Hanes is partnering with The Salvation ArmyDelivering GoodCovenant Houseand nearly 30 other community-based relief programs to distribute the apparel to those in need. Socks and underwear continue to be the most requested items from relief agencies who work with the homeless. The initiative is part of Hanes for Good, the corporate responsibility program of Hanes’ parent company, HanesBrands (NYSE:HBI).

“Most of us take new socks and underwear for granted, but we know these items bring great comfort to and make a dramatic difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness,” said Sidney Falken, chief branding officer, HanesBrands. “Access to something as basic as clean, dry socks can literally save lives within our country’s homeless population.”

Each year, an estimated 2.5 million to 3.5 million Americans sleep in shelters, transitional housing and public places not meant for human habitation, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. It is reported that 7.4 million people have lost their homes and are living with family or friends due to economic necessity. And 1 million people who are experiencing homelessness have full-time jobs.

To focus attention on the subject as part of the national sock drive, Hanes is collaborating with Invisible People, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the story of homelessness in the United States.

“It may be surprising for many to learn that those who are homeless today were much like the rest of us not so long ago,” said Mark Horvath, founder of Invisible People. “I never planned to live on the street, and neither does anyone else.

“It is only by getting up close and personal with the veterans, mothers, children, those impacted by job loss and others who have been forced to the streets by a variety of circumstances that we can truly understand the real challenges of homelessness, as well as possible solutions,” he added. “And that’s why our joint effort to educate the general public about this issue is so incredibly important.”

Working together, Hanes and Horvath provided smartphones to three people experiencing homelessness and asked them to document their personal stories during a 24-hour period. Mary, a single mother, award-winning artist and college student; David, a widower with a Master of Fine Arts degree who is pursuing teaching opportunities; and Manda, the victim of a traumatic brain injury who now takes care of others in her tent community; each share a compelling, first-person account of what a “day in the life” of homelessness really entails.

“Humanizing homelessness is a critical first step to begin solving it, and Mary, David and Manda were incredibly brave to share their stories,” said Falken, who noted that Hanes and Horvath are currently working to assist the three in hopes of making their lives more comfortable.

Visit www.hanes.com/sockdrive to learn more about those experiencing homelessness, get information about the organizations participating in this year’s sock drive and find out how to support homeless-relief initiatives in communities across the country and/or donate directly to Covenant House or Invisible People.

Christian’s Story

With current UNICEF estimates claiming that more than 1.8 million children in the Philippines are abandoned or neglected, baby Christian’s story is a perfect example of how God’s love is being demonstrated through the people of The Salvation Army in a powerful way. Unable to provide for baby Christian due to poverty in their village, his family sought someone who could possibly provide a better life for their child. Christian was extremely malnourished and dismal when Major Linda Manhardt took it upon herself to try and “make that baby healthy and strong,” in her own words.. Their relationship reached a new peak when Major Mahardt was asked to foster Christian, eventually being presented with the option to adopt him. This touching story seeks to encourage others to be a blessing to those around them by doing something, even if that something is just one thing. Today, you can become apart of what God is doing in the lives of children by sponsoring a Salvation Army Children’s Home. Email child.sponsorship@usw.salvationarmy.org and be sure to spread the word by sharing this video with your friends and network. God bless you, and let’s change the world together! Full Video    #ShareChange 

 

 

Salvation Army DMV kicks off holiday Red Kettle campaign

Salvation Army DMV kicks off holiday Red Kettle campaign

 – The sounds of the Salvation Army bells can now be heard ringing all over the DMV as the Red Kettle campaign kicks off. With each donation, the Salvation Army are helping to change the lives of those in need.

Vianelly Herrera is only 21 years old, but she’s already lived through enough heartache and hardship to last a lifetime.

“There were times I didn’t know where we were going to be, there were times where I didn’t know what we were going to eat. It’s been tough. It’s been tough,” she says.

“I don’t think they realize the pain that it is really to grow up without a mother,” she says.

Her daughter Ariana was born when she was just 16-years-old, forcing her to drop out of school and find a job. Nearly a year later, Herrera had her son, Jerimiah, and suddenly her hard life became even harder.

“When I had my son I didn’t have an address they told me if I didn’t have an address my son wouldn’t be discharged and I believe they said after ten days I couldn’t take my son. My son had to stay in the hospital until I could find somewhere to go,” she says.

She says that’s when she went into panic mode. She begged friends and family for a place to stay. She was eventually placed in a group home with her children but knew she had to do better for herself and her family.

Aleata Dawkins manages the Salvation Army Turning Point program in Northwest D.C.

“Miss Herrera I would call her, I probably get emotional thinking about her — resilient,” says Dawkins.

The program helps struggling families get back on track.

“Turning Point allows our families to come in and really realize that ‘I have an opportunity to turn my life around.’ I tell the families when they first come, it’s all about how you perceive this moment,” says Dawkins.

Turning point checks all the boxes for its residents, from life skills and job training, childcare, and all the basics.

“Families that come to Turning Point oftentimes come with nothing, a couple of bags of clothes,” says Dawkins.

They are given a completely furnished unit with dressers, bedding, sheets, pots, pans.

But there is one thing Herrera got from the program that she wasn’t given, her diploma. She says she worked hard, struggled, and sacrificed to get it.

“Yes I did June 13 at 10 o’clock in the morning. I know the exact date. I felt accomplished,” says Herrera.

“We sell dreams that they’ve never seen,” says Dawkins.

Herrera’s dreams are becoming a reality for her and an example for her kids.

“When my kids grow up I want them never to quit,” she says.

She also wants to you to think of her when you hear the Salvation Army’s bell ringing and see their red kettle.

“You can change life,” says Herrera.

“All the money that is donated through those red kettles goes to support a family. She could’ve given up. She sees a future. And now that she’s grasped that she can have the future she wanted, the sky’s the limit,” says Dawkins.

Major Lisa Hall with the Salvation Army says 80,000 people were helped in the DMV area from last year’s donations.

The donations go to support food, rent and utilities for families in need. It also supports three drug and alcohol programs, as well as the Turning Point program, and a new anti-human trafficking program.

The Salvation Army’s goal is to raise $1.4 million dollars from the DC metro area this season.

You can visit the Salvation Army’s website for information about donating or to volunteer.

 

Dak Prescott helping Tostitos raise money for Salvation Army

FRISCO — Before attending team meetings Tuesday at The Star, Dak Prescott helped kick off a partnership to raise money for The Salvation Army during the holiday season.

“I have such a great platform to reach so many people throughout this country and it’s important for me to use it,” Prescott said Tuesday during a kickoff event in front of the Ford Center.

In regards to balancing his time between promotional work and preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys quarterback said it’s not difficult.

“I focus on whatever I’m doing at that moment,” Prescott said. “Right now my heart and everything is into the Salvation Army and Tostitos and kicking off this campaign. When I finish with this and head to football it will be all ball.”

Tostitos, a brand that already endorses the 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year, will make a donation for every bag of its new Yellow Corn Bite Size tortilla chips purchased now through the end of the year, up to $500,000, to support local Salvation Army chapters.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott shoots a promotional video for Tostitos and The Salvation Army after a press conference at The Star in Frisco

Brian Elledge/The Dallas Morning News Staff

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott shoots a promotional video for Tostitos and The Salvation Army after a press conference at The Star in Frisco

“Dak is an easy choice,” said Pat O’Toole, senior director of marketing for Tostitos. “He’s a great spokesperson, he’s a great role model and a heck of a quarterback as well. We couldn’t ask for anyone better than Dak. Dak gives back to the Salvation Army already, so it was such a natural, easy fit that there really weren’t many discussions. Dak was the right guy.”

Prescott had team meetings beginning at noon Tuesday. After cleaning up film of the 27-7 loss in Atlanta, focus will shift to preparing for Sunday night’s matchup with the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles:

“We’ll clean up that film, get all of that behind us and make sure we’re good to go, we’re moving forward and getting better,” Prescott said. “Huge game coming up, a division rivalry, a team that’s winning the division right now, so it’s important for us to get ready to go and come in Sunday and get a win.”

During a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio to promote his work with Tostitos and The Salvation Army, Prescott was asked if he looks at Sunday’s game as a must-win for the Cowboys.

“I do,” Prescott said. “I do personally. I look at every game as a must-win. This one holds a lot of importance in it. With the games, as we’re getting late into the season, the number of games is going down and you’ve got to shorten that gap.”

The Cowboys currently sit three games back of the Eagles in the NFC East standings.

Salvation Army Kicks-Off Red Kettle Campaign with Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

The Salvation Army in New Jersey’s Third Annual Kettle Kick-Off promises to be the biggest and best to date. On Giving Tuesday, November 28th, the highly-visible Red Kettle Campaign event will officially launch at four New Jersey Transit locations—including the flagship event at Newark Penn Station—and will feature New Jersey’s own two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and two-time FIFA Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, serving as Honorary Kettle Kick-Off Chairperson.

Morning commuters at Newark Penn Station, Hamilton Station, Secaucus Junction and Trenton Transit Center will be treated with The Salvation Army’s iconic Red Kettle stands, bell-ringers, volunteers and live music to drive excitement in order to raise $1.9 million during the Red Kettle Campaign. Funds collected during the campaign will provide for families and individuals across the state during the holiday season and year-round, sustaining the vital programs and services from The Salvation Army that help people in need manage their daily lives.

“Many families are still finding it nearly impossible to stay afloat financially, and we’ve seen it firsthand in the increasing number of New Jersey residents who come to us for help,” says Major Ivan K. Rock, State Commander of The Salvation Army in New Jersey. “The Red Kettle Campaign is integral to the lives of many New Jersey residents, and is made possible, in conjunction with our Platinum sponsors, Prudential Financial, Contura Energy and LENNAR as well as all the other companies and individuals who support our mission to transform the lives of those in need in our state.”

Last year, 708,884 individuals in New Jersey received assistance from The Salvation Army, which included holiday and seasonal assistance, food pantry, soup kitchens, after-school programs, emergency shelter and much more. Additionally, The Salvation Army served over one million hot meals statewide last year.

Beginning Monday, November 20, kettle stands will appear at various retailers, malls and grocery stores to Christmas Eve. To make a donation to The Salvation Army in New Jersey, text NJKETTLE to 41444. To make a gift, please send checks to: The Salvation Army 4 Gary Road, Union, N.J. 07083.

To learn more about The Salvation Army’s holiday efforts and to get involved, visit SalvationArmyNJ.org.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support these services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, visit salvationarmynj.org/.

About the Red Kettle Campaign
From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. Thousands of Salvation Army bell-ringers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit donations to the iconic Red Kettles from holiday shoppers.