Bells ring around the world
The cheery dinging of a small silver bell floats across the air, penetrating the ears of consumers shopping at the Wal-Mart in Belton, Texas. Temple resident Carmen Mendoza grasps the bell, shaking it back and forth, hoping that those who are out shopping will drop some change into the small red bucket, giving the Salvation Army funds to help the less fortunate.
This annual fundraising event is happening once again with a goal of $3 million this season.
Founded in England in 1865, it has grown to be a worldwide community of people working together to do humanitarian work like providing Christmas presents for children whose parents can’t afford them. The Temple community branch didn’t open until 1995 and their main work is with families living in poverty.
Mendoza is a direct beneficiary of the Salvation Army’s aid and is a volunteer bell ringer for the first time this year.
“I lost my job and have been going to the (Salvation Army) thrift store to get clothes and stuff,” Mendoza said.
She volunteers at three locations, using her free time working to raise funds not only for herself but also for others in the community who are in need.
She said, “It’s a good job and I’ve already been the top person twice, and this is only the third week.”
The central Texas locations have a competition each week to see who can raise the most money. The funds raised go toward helping with bills, providing meals for people during the holidays, providing jackets for cold nights, and buying presents for children.
“I like that they help with little kids and get them toys for Christmas. They make so many kids happy at Christmas by buying them toys,” Mendoza said.
Others believe in the mission statement of the Salvation Army as stated on their signs and website of, “Doing the Most Good,” and are working to raise money as well.
Temple resident Lucy Cantwell rings the bell at the Wal-Mart in Temple as well as in front of the JC Penney at the Temple Mall.
“A few years ago my grandmother received help from Salvation Army and that’s when I got involved,” Cantwell said.
She has personally seen the difference the small contributions make in the lives of people. Not only does Salvation Army act during the holidays, but they run projects such as kids camps, prison ministries, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers throughout the year. Angel Tree is another popular project, favored by many churches in the area.
“I’ve worked this a few times on and off,” Cantwell said.
She volunteers when she can and hopes that as people pass by, some will share a giving heart and drop a few coins or bills into the small red kettle swaying slightly by her side.
According to the local chapter’s website, the goal of the Temple branch is, “to respond to specific crisis situations by trying to raise hope in the hearts and minds of people, to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty and helping them to help the themselves.”
Ultimately their goal is to share the Gospel of Christ with a lost and hurting world. The work they are doing is being felt by those in the community.
Cantwell said, “I know it’s made a difference in my life.”