Salvation Army Touchless Ways to Give. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Salvation Army Touchless Ways to Give. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Ringing the Salvation Army Bell for the Rice County Unit this year was very similar to most other years.  The only difference was wearing a mask.

Nobody used the touchless method.  Maybe I should have pointed out the option more to those people walking by the donation kettle.

In a year where almost everything was upside down because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was refreshing for me.  I did miss the smiles of most people who passed by on their wait out of Fareway Foods in Faribault.

I honestly don't remember when I started my tradition of ringing on Christmas Eve but I do know my parents were still alive and my Dad passed away in 2005.

I do know I started because I believe Christmas Eve families should be together.  Because I don't have a family it makes most sense for me to spread holiday cheer by ringing the bell.

A number of years I have hopped on a plane the next day to go to warmer climates for a week.  I didn't do that last year and have no plans to go anywhere this year.

The people are as varied as the money they place in the hole of the red kettle.

  • One gentleman placed a $10 bill in the hole while telling me the Salvation Army helped his Dad 35 years ago and he has never forgotten.
  • A woman came back to the store to leave me an envelope which she said contained $300 for the Salvation Army.  Just because they "do good things."
  • Several people placed coins inside and apologized they couldn't give more.  I would reply every bit helps.
  • An elderly woman with a smile that could light up a Christmas tree (she wasn't wearing a mask, maybe for medical reasons) said she heard me on the radio in the morning and knew I would be at Fareway. She placed two $20 bills in the kettle.

Lots of kids put coins in the kettle. I think it's a great way to teach them to give to people they don't know.

One of the employees at Fareway came up to me and said, "Just think Gordy if everyone passing by you today were to place one dollar in that red kettle it would be completely full."

In 2015 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Rice County's population to be 65,500.  This year's Rice County Salvation Army Unit goal was set at $50,000.  Yes if a dollar were donated for every person in the county we could do more good for more people in need.

I am happy to report the Red Kettle Bell Ringer organizer Mel Sanborn told me with a good day today we should meet this year's goal after a couple of years coming up short.

In fact two years ago the Rice County Salvation Army had no money to help people in need.

The biggest factor in raising enough money it seems is having enough bell ringers.  I would highly recommend volunteering.  Usually the shift is two hours long but organizers will work with you on a day and time that works for your situation.  Please consider assisting next year.



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