Guest Column: The need in the community continues all year

Published 10:37 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

Live United by Sandra Hunt

Ring-ding-a-ling. A mother hears the bell as she shops in the grocery store. She thinks of the food drive going on at her child’s school. “Does one can really matter?” she asks herself. The bell tells her that one can does matter, especially when it is the last one in the cupboard.

Ring-ding-a-ling. On their way to the department store, a 4-year-old tugs on the hand of his grandmother. As he hears the bell, a grin appears on his face. His grandmother thinks of other 4-year-olds who may not have any presents under the tree this year.

Sandra Hunt

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Ring-ding-a-ling. The bell pierces through the thoughts of a businessperson intent on closing a deal. He puts all his change in the kettle remembering the year when, at his old job, the company downsized and he was without a job or income for six months.

The bell rings on through the snow, the wind and the cold.

Ring-ding-a-ling. The first shift ends and hundreds head out, looking forward to their warm, comfortable homes.  The bell rings for families that have no heat. As the workers hurry to their cars, a few think of those who have no car.

Ring-ding-a-ling. A young family: dad, mom and their children are at the mall shopping for Christmas presents.  They hear the bell and remember a few years ago when their house burned to the ground.  They pause and think of people who have no roof over their head and drop a couple of dollars in the kettle.

Ring-ding-a-ling. A young woman in a threadbare coat hurries past the kettle with her two young children. Knowing that she will receive a food basket and toys from the Salvation Army gives her courage to face the coming days, and she drops a few pennies in the kettle.

When you buy a gift for a child at Christmas, bring in foodstuffs for the food pantry or drop some money in the kettle, you are supporting all that the bell symbolizes. It is a reminder that there are many people who need a little help. It stands for a spirit of sharing, of giving hope and encouragement to those who have somehow found themselves in a difficult situation.

For four weeks, the bell is a reminder of our community’s needs. And then it stops ringing. But, the need still continues. The bell speaks to each and every one of us. Its echo can be heard all year long.  May God bless your generosity as you share with his people this Christmas!

There are many opportunities to volunteer to ring at a kettle. You can sign up online at or call our office at 507-373-5710. Besides bell-ringing, throughout the year there are other opportunities to volunteer: in our food pantry, hot lunch meal site and at our thrift store. For more information, call our office and speak with Kathy. God bless!

Maj. Sandra Hunt is an officer at the Albert Lea Salvation Army.