For decades now I’ve made a practice of putting some contribution in every Salvation Army kettle I pass (I have the same weakness for kids with lemonade stands). So, as Christmas ringing season begins, I load my pockets with bills — twenties when I feel flush.
As a veteran bell ringer, I earned a reputation for being assertive in greeting passers by. Some have used a stronger word than that, but I make no apologies for urging support of a great cause. Now, not only do I drop something in each kettle, I offer encouragement to the ringer, especially the less enthusiastic ones. “Talk it up,” I urge, “smile and look ’em in the eye, and ask for the donation.”
The ringer last year at my neighborhood Kroger was my kind of ringer. I believe he was one of the Army’s clients, paying his debt with service. No one passed without his joyful, friendly nudging. I stopped a couple of times to praise him. On about my third Kroger run, he pointed me out to a group of other shoppers.
“See that man?” he called, “He never comes by here without putting FORTY dollars in the kettle.” Well, my friend, that was inflating it a bit; but he did tap me going in and coming out.
Those little bells the Army issues don’t attract enough attention. You gotta talk it up, you ringers.
-Written by Jim Montgomery, a dedicated Salvation Army Advisory Board member and veteran bell ringer!