Guest Column

Salvation Army

A blessing beyond belief

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Standing in front of Walmart or Brookshire’s on a cold and wet Saturday ringing the Salvation Army bell may not sound like a lot of fun to most people. But those who ring the bell know the experience can be life-changing. The stories you hear from people in our community who have been on the receiving end of the Salvation Army are plentiful. And it’s often the bell-ringer who is blessed by this experience.

As treasurer for the Mineola Salvation Army, my role is to make sure we have enough money locally to help meet very basic needs of the families in our community. Many people don’t realize that every single penny dropped in our kettles stay right here in Mineola.

In 2017, the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign raised over $5,000, which was used to help over 300 families in the Mineola area. If it weren’t for our annual bell-ringers and the generosity of our community, none of this would happen. The kettle campaign is our only fund-raising event of the year and the people in our community always step up to make sure our needs are met.

Last year, my husband and I were ringing the bell in front of Walmart, when a man came up and shared his personal testimony about how the Salvation Army saved his life. His heartbreaking story began with a mental disorder that led to him losing his home and car. He said he ended up with nothing and no place to live. He turned to the Salvation Army, which provided him with a place to stay, doctors who were able to diagnose his medical condition and medication necessary to treat his disorder. As a result, this man was able to get back on his feet and return to a normal life.

Once we all wiped the tears from our eyes, the man gave all he had back to the Salvation Army. He didn’t have much, but he paid it forward. His story was a powerful testament to the impact of a helping community through the Salvation Army.

Every bell-ringer hears stories just like this one, and the people who always seem to give the most are the people who have the least. Many have been helped by the Salvation Army in one way or another.

I would like to thank the people of Mineola and the surrounding area for opening their wallets, purses and pockets to make a difference. I would like to thank Steve and Gail Turner for their help organizing this program and for the time they put in each season to make a difference. Lastly, I would like to thank our local civic organizations and volunteers who give their time every year to ring the bell. Without you, there would be no Salvation Army.

For more than 100 years, The Salvation Army has been faithfully serving the people in our area and we will continue to work hard to make sure the needs in our area are being met. As the Salvation Army continues into the 21st century, they remain committed to helping people at a community level, while spreading the love of Jesus Christ.

Our 2018 bell-ringing campaign starts on Saturday, Nov. 24 and runs for five consecutive weeks. We always need more volunteers and trust me when I say this “you will be the one blessed by this experience.”

If you have questions about the Salvation Army or if you would like to sign up to be a bell-ringer please contact me at bt.blake@yahoo.com.

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