Are you doing alright? Hang in there - only a few more days now until your big night. I had a pretty big night myself last Saturday - my new baby granddaughter Justice was born. She is so precious!
The night she was born, as I was lying in the next hospital bed near my daughter to keep her company, I thought about a couple of things.
First, I thought about the many questions I get from people as I am "out and about" in the community this time of year. One lady said she heard the people ringing the bell got paid (they don't in this community - they are all volunteer) and that she wouldn't put money in the kettle if she knew they were getting paid.
Another woman asked me if officers rang in uniform at the kettle anymore and that her mother wouldn't give unless someone was standing there in uniform. She went on to say that most of the people standing at a kettle look like they are homeless. Both of those questions and the comments made me quite sad about some folks' motivation for giving.
All it means is when they don't give, fewer people are helped.
1 Samuel 16:7 says "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
But then I also thought about all the beautiful volunteers who helped us with the bell ringing this season.
There are many groups who help and who are so important to us, but I thought about who the majority of volunteers were and where they were from. Those folks comprise about 10 to 12 individuals who ring the bell several times a week every week - and some every day.
Of that small group; some are out of work and looking for something purposeful to do, some have community service hours that must be fulfilled and some attend The Salvation Army on a regular basis. Not looking for recognition, but just there to help.
One of those folks is someone who works part-time as an employee for us, but then in his volunteer time he's been out there at least six hours every day ringing the bell.
Another (who was just admitted to the hospital yesterday for illness) lives in one of the personal care homes in the community but he is out there EVERY DAY, ALL DAY LONG, ringing the bell with a smile!
Yet another fulfilled a set amount of required community hours but has enjoyed it so much that he continues to ring EVERY DAY, ALL DAY LONG!
Sometimes I just sit there SMH (Facebook term for "shaking my head") and wonder why they put in so many hours and why they do it. I believe it's because there are still people out there who want to make a difference for the good. I give thanks for all of them.
I don't need a present from you this year Santa. I've already received so many daily blessings I am about ready to burst!
Catch a few winks here and there when you can Santa.
Your friend always,
Please help by giving generously to the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army Santa Fund.
You can help make this a brighter holiday season for local families by making a contribution in person to any branch of M&T Bank or by mail to M&T Bank at 405 River Ave.; at the Salvation Army, 457 Market St.; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
The Santa Fund is a fundraiser organized by the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army to help local families in need.