One of my favorite activities leading up to Christmas is to volunteer as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army.
I have done this for at least the past 10 years. It really is one of my most enjoyable activities throughout the year. Even if the weather is cold or wet I enjoy it because I know it serves others that need our help.
This great organization provides exceptional services for local people in need. I recently had a chance to hear more about our local Salvation Army services at a meeting of the Rotary Club.
The Salvation Army is an outgrowth of a mission begun in 1865 by a Methodist minister in London. It now operates in 124 nations around the world.
I learned that our local Salvation Army operates a homeless shelter for men and women 365 days a year.
The local shelter can accommodate 34 individuals, made up of single men and families in their shelter. It has four family rooms and a dorm-style room that can house 18 men.
The program is designed to provide immediate assistance in the form of food and shelter for people in our county as well as provide counseling and guidance to help them get back on their feet.
I like that this program is very responsive to the immediate issue of keeping people safe, but doesn’t stop there. The Salvation Army help individuals and families work through their circumstances to find a way to get out on their own.
It also provides services such as Angel Tree, summer camps, emergency disaster response and home delivery of meals for home bound individuals. Each year our local Salvation Army provides assistance for about several thousand people during the holiday season.
For these and other reasons, I choose to support the Salvation Army with donations and by volunteering as a bell ringer.
Unless the weather is especially bad my 5-year-old daughter will be with me. She loves to ring the bell and I like that she gets an opportunity to help others.
If you want to volunteer as a bell ringer, or to help in any other way, or know someone that can use some assistance, you can call Salvation Army at 615-895-7071.
When you see a bell ringer, remember that any contribution can help those in need.
If you are looking for other ways to help others by volunteering your time and talents this season, there are many opportunities.
You may start by seeking guidance at your local church. Churches often have immediate needs that are being unmet due to lack of personnel.
Middle Tennessee Medical Center utilizes volunteers to fulfill many needs within the hospital.
Volunteers are helpful in the gift shop, to assist nurses, to serve as greeters in the emergency room and waiting room, to provide transportation and many other services. It can be very gratifying to serve in these capacities.
To learn more call Kathy Ferrell at 615- 396-4693.
I spoke with Kathy earlier this week. She enthusiastically told me how much the volunteers mean to the MTMC ministry and that she currently needs volunteers that can help by driving the courtesy parking lot shuttles.
Our local Red Cross needs volunteers throughout the year.
Volunteers help serve local residents, as well as helping provide assistance for people affected by hurricane Sandy and other disasters.
Assistance is needed for services such as blood drives and disaster response preparedness.
I spoke with the Red Cross earlier this week and was told that they always need volunteers that are willing to go through appropriate training to be able to serve on an ongoing basis. There is not a current need for sporadic volunteering by persons that have not gone through volunteer training.
To learn more call 615-893-4272.
There are countless other organizations that could use your help throughout the year. But as winter approaches, the need becomes more acute.
Thank you for “feeding the kettle” when you pass a Salvation Army bell-ringer as well as any other ways that you choose to help others this season.