Army in need of holiday volunteers
by Laura Mszar
The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with seasonal activities and services. This season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping stretch our service to people in need.
Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle bell ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.
Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting salvationarmusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.
Scott Bedio, archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle bell ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”
Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.
One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a bell ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving”—when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell-ringing tradition.
Scott said the most important thing people should know before volunteering is to, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”