Christmas win/win for Salvation Army and the Community Church of SaddleBrooke

Leah and Ron Kari dressed as Charles Dickens era carolers.

Leah and Ron Kari dressed as Charles Dickens era carolers.

Two belles ringing bells: Beth Effenberger and Nancy Klawitter

Two belles ringing bells: Beth Effenberger and Nancy Klawitter

Steve Willis

Did you know that 75% of the Salvation Army’s annual revenue is collected around the country between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from the Salvation Army annually through social services like food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 86 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in over 7,000 communities nationwide.

The work that the Salvation Army does, the efficiency of its fundraising and its successful use of those funds are reasons the Community Church at SaddleBrooke (CCSB) has been providing financial support to Salvation Army for several years. This past Christmas season 60 people from CCSB volunteered as Salvation Army bell ringers at our local Bashas’. Every one of the volunteers ended their two-hour shift expressing the same sentiment, “That was fun! We want to do it again next year!”

But it wasn’t just fun. The bell ringers found that a cordial greeting and wishes for a Merry Christmas enhanced everyone’s Christmas spirit. The following comments give you some idea of the reactions from the bell ringers and those making deposits in the Red Kettle:

* It was heartwarming to see the kindness and appreciation of others who gave a donation or words of appreciation.

* More than one person said: “Thanks for doing this;” “It’s nice to hear Merry Christmas and the old carols”; “This is like being in church!”

* Several parents gave their young kids coins or bills to donate. Two boys, brothers in their teens, stopped and each opened their wallets to donate a $5 bill.

* Another lady stopped to talk about how down on luck she and her family were this year and she had to get assistance, but next year would be better and then she would give.

With the CCSB volunteers doing their thing, the Salvation Army’s collections in 2015 were 125% greater than 2014 at our local Bashas’ thanks to those great Bashas’ customers. In 2016 we will definitely ring the bells again for the Salvation Army. We have learned that there is a lot of untapped potential within our church for volunteerism. We are working to identify the volunteer opportunities within the other 13 charitable organizations that the CCSB supports financially. In 2016 we will be doing a better job of communicating to our church members all the volunteer opportunities they can choose from.

Was it a win/win this year? Absolutely! The Salvation Army received more money and the Community Church’s volunteers received an immeasurably greater return on the Christmas spirit.

Please join us at the CCSB to get personally involved in helping those in need within our community. We meet every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the SaddleBrooke DesertView Theater. We represent an all-denominational Christian Church and everyone is welcome.