A church I served always adopted a Salvation Army site during the holiday season. Volunteers stood outside a nearby grocery store, collecting money for the Red Kettle.
The experience of ringing the Salvation Army bell grants deep insights into human nature. Most adults avoid eye contact altogether, pretending they cannot see or hear you. However, the cling-clang of the bell fascinates children as they gaze at the berry-red kettle.
I witnessed a bejeweled woman in a high-end sports car stalk past without a glance. A biker in dirty jeans and leather jacket stuffed $20 into the slot. Others gave nothing as they shrugged with varying degrees of indifference or embarrassment.
If you encounter someone ringing the Salvation Army this year, here’s my advice.
- Make eye contact
- Thank the volunteers for their service
- Wish them a “Merry Christmas”
- Make sure children have coins to drop in the kettle
- Make sure you donate some cash that folds
- Do unto others as . . . well, you know.