'Tis the season for those tinkling bells - you should try ringing one
I just covered a story about the donation of the fifth gold coin in five years to the Champaign County Salvation Army. You can read about it http://zi.ma/b9d92f.
The coin is worth $335, which is bound to be a nice boost for the organization's Red Kettle fund. But, what the Salvation Army really needs, Kettle and Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Hall told me, is people to ring those bells.
"We're still seaching desperately for volunteers," she told me a few minutes ago on the phone.
The News-Gazette was generous enough to allow its employees to volunteer bell-ring during work hours. I did my stint yesterday, and had a great time. (Even though the gold coin wasn't found after my shift at the Walgreen's at Neil and Kirby.)
It was so interesting to see the diversity of people who slid money through my kettle's slot. Young people, not-so-young people. Those who looked like they could spare the change or dollar bills they put in and people who didn't.
One boy, walking with his mom, donated money both on the way in the store and again on his way out. One woman told me she tries to keep dollar bills on hand and donated to every kettle she sees. Another walked past me after exiting Walgreens, only to stop her car, get out and make a donation. True caring takes so many forms.
When I got out of my car before I started ringing, I made a concious effort to leave my iPod and cell phone behind. I didn't want any distractions.
I was glad I did it that way. I was able to exchange pleasantries with those who walked by and appreciate the November sunshine.
I had time for some thinking, too, which can be rare and lucky at this time of year. I mulled over one of my favorite quotations around this time of year, courtesey of G.K. Chesterton: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
I realized after the experience of ringing that Salvation Army bell, I'll feel a connection to those seasonal ringers. And, while I admit that some of my donations have been fueled by guilt, they won't be anymore. Now, I understand that the plunking of change into the bottom of a red kettle is a way to take happiness, double it with wonder and pass it on.
So if you want to try it - and I think you should - you can contact Hall at 373-7832.