The other night, a kettle was stolen from The Salvation Army.  At first, I was shocked, then angry that someone would have the audacity to take needed donations from The Salvation Army – donations that would directly help families that have been placed in the hardest of situations and the deepest of need.  The families that come to The Salvation Army are facing crises.  They have hit rock bottom, with nowhere else to turn.  The Salvation Army works to pick these families up, give them food or financial assistance to get them back on their feet, and strives to refer them to the resources and opportunities they need in order to avoid a crisis in the future.

 Thinking of these families, the loss of my kettle brought me to anger.  However, the more I thought about the Red Kettle Campaign and the services The Salvation Army provides at Christmastime, my anger subsided.  Instead, my mind was flooded with images of the donors and volunteers that take their time and resources each year to ensure that others can enjoy a special holiday season with their families. 

  • I thought of the little elderly woman who carefully puts her two fifty dollar bills in the kettles. 
  • I thought of the nursing home workers who recognized The Salvation Army volunteers as they wished a “Merry Christmas” to residents and handed out a small Christmas decoration to families sometimes forgotten. 
  • The young boy scouts and girl scouts that collected food and toys for other children their age, knowing their efforts would help them have a great Christmas. 
  • The service club volunteers ringing bells, singing loudly and wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!” 
  • The groups that adopted families for Christmas, going above and beyond to make sure that each child received exactly the toys and gifts they asked for. 
  • Finally, I thought of the woman who came into my office with a donation of cash and brand new toys.  She had come through our office to receive help herself at one point in time.  Because of the help she received through The Salvation Army, she was able to get back on her feet and was now returning the favor, knowing that through her donation, someone else would experience the same help she did. 

Through all of this, I realized that The Salvation Army is truly blessed to have a community of generosity as its main supporters.  Generosity comes from all people and all places.  It doesn’t take the mighty and powerful to make lasting change in a community.  Instead it comes through the small sacrifices and generous spirits of an elderly woman, a small child, or a grateful heart. 

This Christmas, in the midst of the busy-ness and hustle and bustle of the season, I hope you have encountered a generous spirit.  I certainly have and I can say that it has encouraged me and challenged me to live out a generous and grateful spirit each and every day.  – Lt. Betsy Clark 

To make a donation by mail, please send to: The Salvation Army Lake County, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321 call 219-838-1328or visit www.salarmy.org/lakecounty

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