Do you give on the way in or on the way out? Do you look them in the eye or look the other direction? What if you give something on the way in and then it’s a different person when you are walking out? Do you have to feel guilty then or do you get to say, “no, I gave on the way in.” And will they believe you? And what if you want to make one larger gift…with the individual ringers know? Will they think that you are stiffing them? Maybe it’s better to just keep a roll of quarters in your pocket and put a couple in every bucket you see. And how much is enough? Does a penny count? Does 47 cents count? And how come sometimes the people ringing the bells are also singing and sometimes they are trying to look cool and sometimes they look cold?
And by the time we are done with these questions, we are in the car, thinking, “next time.”
I understand completely. Why do you think I know the questions so well?
What I also know is that while I trying to figure out the right way to give, there are volunteers with the Salvation Army doing stuff. While I’m trying to decide whether 47 cents makes a difference, there is someone watching their house burn down drinking 47 cents worth of coffee. While I’m deciding whether I should make eye contact or not, the Salvation Army is working to fight human trafficking and addictions.
So I’m ringing a bell to fill a kettle.
Click on the image above or in the sidebar. You contribute, they send you a receipt. And the money goes to the national Red Kettle campaign.
In the interest of full disclosure, I get nothing from this. I’m not on a board. I’m not on a committee. I’m not a member of the Salvation Army. And I’m not even going to say that I’ll match your gifts up to a limit (Although I will tell you that we have already started putting money in kettles).
I do, however, care about people. And this is one way to help people who help.
The questions earlier? There aren’t any simple answers. Other than this: don’t give to make yourself feel better. Don’t give out of obligation. Don’t give because of guilt. Don’t give comparatively. Don’t give because I’m asking.
Give out of gratitude. Invest in caring.