Ringing the ‘Bell’ and Eye Contact

Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army

This year I was invited to ring the Salvation Army Bell, I jumped at the chance.

Christmas shopping with the sound of the ‘bell’ is a memory from childhood thru today as I rush in and out of stores with my Christmas packages or groceries, the Salvation Army bell-ringer is there. Do I always see them or acknowledge them, no….

The Salvation Army began in the late 1800’s and as we know they work diligently to help at disaster relief with shelter, food and counseling. What I didn’t know about the Salvation Army were the personal stories of people who have been touched by the Salvation Army.

I told friends that I would be ringing the Salvation Army bell in Los Osos and in San Luis Obispo and they shared with me their stories. One friend mentioned that her uncle was an alcoholic and many times her Dad did not know where his brother was. He was found in his car by a Salvation Army worker in L.A.’s Skip Row, given food, shelter, counseling and he was able to see his brother again before he passed away.

Someone else said his sister had been a heroin addiction for over 20 years in San Francisco when she asked for help at the Salvation Army and has been clean for the past 15 years.

Another friend said, his brother had vanished, a trouble soul who just walked away from his family. The Salvation Army has helped to keep them in touch, giving the family peace in knowing their son/brother/friend is safe & alive.

The Salvation Army ‘Bell-Ringer’ I discovered is more than someone asking for money, they are a welcome friend of the Holiday Season. The people of Los Osos have been very generous dropping dollars to coins as I ring the bell and wish them Merry Christmas.

I also discovered people like me who are too ‘rushed’ or ‘busy’ to see me, and do not want to make eye contact with me. They walk past without acknowledging me or look the other way. To those people, I’d like to say, its okay you do not have to donate, I’m not pan-handling, I’m a volunteer for the Salvation Army! I understanding being over-whelmed at this time of year and with organizations asking for donations, no worries share your best attribute, your beautiful smile, that’s what I will be doing if I don’t have change to donate.

Stop by & meet me, give me a ‘smile’ or some change at the following locations:
• Von’s, Los Osos from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
• Beverly’s, San Luis Obispo Downtown, Higuera Street, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
• Beverly’s, San Luis Obispo Downtown, Higuera Street, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.