February 25th, 2024

Service Above Self: Salvation Army Christmas Kettles a great reason to go ring those bells!

By Medicine Hat Rotary Club on December 21, 2023.

Joe Martineau rings bells for the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign at Northlands Co-op.--SUBMITTED PHOTO

It’s that time of year: Bells are ringing. Volunteers are bundled up greeting shoppers and handing out candy canes. Yep. The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Drive is in full gear.

Since its 1906 Canadian start in St. John’s, Nfld., with a single kettle, the project has spread to more than 2,000 locations across Canada.

Medicine Hat’s Salvation Army, founded in 1899, has made the drive a tradition of our community. The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has, in turn, made it a yearly project for the last 39 years and has joined a platoon of volunteers to help.

Says Adolf Seiler, the past Rotary Club president who spearheaded the program, “Christmas Kettles help the Salvation Army do what it does best: Help people.”

So, why do folks volunteer to ring bells and stand by a red kettle?

Joe Martineau, spotted with a bell in his hand at Northlands Co-op grocery store, says, “It makes me feel good. I’ve done it for seven or eight years. People are happy to give. They say they trust the Salvation Army.”

You may meet Joe when you shop. He is doing 20 shifts.

Another Christmas Kettle supporter is Shirley Eirich. She has volunteered for years through her church and Rotary.

“I believe in giving. I love watching parents give money to their kids to put in the kettle. They are offering their children the experience of giving. That lesson gets reinforced every year though the Kettle Drive.”

“The Salvation Army is vital to the community,” says 20-year supporter Judi Eckenswiller. “The Kettle Drive helps fund its community services like food programs, substance abuse and mental health counselling, and its Salvation Army store with clothing, furnishings, household goods. The community knows that this charity helps people.”

One anonymous and generous volunteer has also been ringing for years. She schedules by calling Shirley at Salvation Army at 587-253-0740. From her kettle at Northland Co-op, she encourages folks to call.

“Volunteer to help!”

Join with Medicine Hat Rotarians, and “Go ring those bells!”

This column was contributed by the Medicine Hat Rotary Club

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