Friday, December 05, 2008

Ringing the Bell

Today I volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. SBU is assigned various days for employees to ring the bell, usually in hour shifts, and they desperately needed someone for today.

I found it to be a very rewarding way to volunteer my time. It's interesting to see the effect, walking by the bell-ringer just makes people feel guilty, particularly the elderly. Several made a comment like "You're really hitting me hard." I only just smiled and said "Mornin'!" to people walking by but many would say "Oh, I promise I'll give on the way out!" Little kids like the bell and want to put money in. I enjoyed the chance it gives to speak blessings into someone's life, I took that rather seriously.

My bell fell apart twice. Once the doohickey inside fell out, another time the handle became unscrewed and the entire bell fell apart (it almost flew and hit some lady in the head...nice). Several people said "I rang the bell yesterday," or "I'll ring the bell tomorrow!" (small town).

I'd bet at least $100 worth was put in the bucket in my hour. Makes me sad for the hours that someone doesn't stand there, that's $100 not raised for a great cause. The Salvation Army's commercials are pretty dramatic and moving, they make you want to give immediately.

It reminded me of how generous we are as a country, people give so much to charities (even though one can easily argue we don't give enough!) even during the worst economic times since the Great Depression.

My wife suggested I sing Christmas carols while I rang the bell. Not gonna happen. But, in my head I was singing a song I learned at a summer day camp I attended when I was 7 or 8. The Salvation Army song. Do you know it? It's probably at least 100 years old, I didn't understand most of it when I was 7 and my mom forbade me to sing it. It makes fun of the Salvation Army and had some pretty lewd verses (can't find many of those online, though... why would you teach little kids to sing filth they don't understand? Ah, because it's summer camp.)

Anyway, volunteering time feels pretty good.

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