This time of year, everyone is running to and fro, trying to either start their last minute Christmas shopping or trying to finish it. Every time we go to the mall, there is always someone there ringing that bell, manning that red kettle that is such a life saver for so many people. Have you ever just taken a moment to discover the work that The Salvation Army does in not only the U.S., but in so many areas of the world through the work of The Salvation Army World Service Office? Let me share just a little bit of what I found....I really thought I knew what they did, but I was clueless.
For instance, did you know that The Salvation Army fights human trafficking? Did you know that they work in different areas all over the world? For example, right now they are helping with the flooding in the Philippines, the earthquakes in Indonesia, and the polio in Angola. They also help after the devastation of tsunamis. Did you know that The Salvation Army has a Missing Person Service, in which they seek to help families reunite? They operate recreational centers such as the Kroc Centers and youth camps for low-income children. Did you know that they also work to help veterans? In World War I, they would serve them coffee and doughnuts, and now they have youth who will visit the veterans and get them outside, or they'll provide the veterans with Bibles and phone cards. They also have camps for veterans. Did you know that The Salvation Army also works to help rehabilitate prisoners, even taking responsibility for prisoners out on parole in some areas of the country? They hold worship services in the prisons, and they provide some prisoners with job training, as well as spiritual mentoring. When it comes to disaster/emergency relief, The Salvation Army's goals are to offer:
* Material comfort
* Physical comfort
* Emotional comfort
* Spiritual comfort.
They seek to help in several different areas of disaster relief, and you can read more about that here.
Did you know that the Salvation Army reaches out to provide adult rehabilitation to individuals who are suffering: the homeless, people suffering with addictions, people who have lost their jobs, those needing spiritual guidance, etc?
Did you also know that they have various programs for the elderly?
Would you like to know where your money is going when you donate to that red kettle at this time of year? Your donations are greatly appreciated by many families in need. Because of your donations, these families can have a Christmas dinner, their children can receive toys, and they can be given clothing and basic necessities. You might even be helping a prisoner's family to have a bit of joy this Christmas. Hospital and nursing home visits are made, as well as visits to those people who can't really leave their homes. Shelters have Christmas dinners, as well, for the people they serve. Some of these people will receive ongoing help and care because of your donations.
So, the next time you are tempted to walk past that kettle without dropping in a donation, think of all of the millions of people who could be helped by you simply taking a moment of your time to stop and give. Maybe you could cross one of those toys off your list, and provide a toy for a needy child instead. What better way to teach your children the true meaning and spirit of Christmas? Maybe you could even volunteer an hour or a few hours of your time to be a bell ringer? Learn how to volunteer. There are so many ways you can give this season. I know my eyes are opened after seeing the many facets of the Salvation Army's work. What a wonderful opportunity to serve and to show someone else you care. Merry Christmas!