We see them every year, cheerful folks ringing a bell outside our favorite store, hoping we’ll put some money into The Salvation Army’s red kettle.
Even a little bit of a donation to The Salvation Army goes a long way, and changes lives.
Every year, you’ll find 81-year-old Roosevelt Smith ringing the bell for The Salvation Army, six days a week, 10 hours a day, in front of the Bell County Hobby Lobby.
"Sure enough, somebody will come along and make me smile and I look upon them and I wanna make them smile. You know just those vibes that pass between you," Smith said.
He often wears his signature red hat, and kids mistake him for Santa Claus.
The money people donate goes to help people from all walks of life in their time of great need.
"The Salvation Army red kettle income is actually used year-round. It’s not just for Christmas time,” said Major James Taylor of The Salvation Army.
Red kettle money supports every service and every enterprise of The Salvation Army.
Red kettle money helps provide beds for the homeless, both short and long-term and supports rehabilitation programs for those looking to reset their lives. It helps touch people transitioning from prison back into society as productive members.
Red kettle money even helps women and families with no place to go, with help to get through most any crisis and provide stability.
It also helps with family support programs for people struggling to stay in homes they already have with The Salvation Army’s food pantry and its other social service programs.
"Let me put it this way, your need is what is most important because your need is your need. and so if The Salvation Army can help meet that need, we’ve done a great service. And the only way we can meet that need is when donors give money, either in the red kettle or through other means throughout the year,” said Major Taylor.
It met Roosevelt Smith’s needs once upon a time… and now he returns the favor by ringing The Salvation Army bell each year.
"About ringing the bell that brings the people together and it seems like when I ring this old bell they'll come on around,” said Smith.
And he hopes they do… because lots of people’s lives, depend on it.
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