City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,
Dressed in holiday style,
In the air there is a feeling of Christmas,
Meeting smile after smile,
And on every street corner you’ll hear :
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city, ring- a- ling, hear them ring, soon it will be Christmas day.
(Jay Livingston/Ray Evans)
Each year, usually round about the beginning of November, these words start popping into my mind and I find myself singing them to myself as I go about my daily tasks. It’s a great song for The Salvation Army at this time of year as many volunteers across this country start ringing those silver bells during the Annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. The writing of this song, as some of you are probably aware, was inspired by the bells used by Santa Clauses and Salvation Army people on New York city corners. It was first performed by Bing Crosby and Marilyn Maxwell in the movie The Lemon-Drop Kid
These silver bells are now being heard in our own town of St Marys, as this week the first kettles go out at our usual three locations – Foodland, Your Independent Grocers, and the Scotia Bank. It’s one of our main fundraisers for the year and we are grateful for those who volunteer to ring the bells, as well, of course, for those who take the time to stop by any of these locations and drop their donations into the kettle. We are also thankful for the businesses who allow us to take up some of their space to set up the kettles. If you find yourself with a couple of spare hours in the lead-up to Christmas, then perhaps you would consider giving some of that time to stand or sit at one of our kettle locations. If this is something you would enjoy doing, then give Tanya, our Community and Family Services worker, a call at 519-284-2760 and see if there is a time slot that works for you. If there is not a kettle time that works for you, then we may find another volunteer opportunity for you.
In addition to this, things are getting busier by the day in the Food Bank, as we get ready for our annual Christmas Food and Toy Hamper distribution. It’s always heartwarming to see everyone there come together to make the operation such a great success. It really is like watching a well-oiled machine as all the preparations are made for two of our busiest days of the year. We continue to accept applications for the hampers and if you have not yet applied then there is still time to do so by calling Tanya at the above number. We changed the way we take applications this year, by offering a more streamlined process and it has gone very well so far. Please call soon, though, so that we can make sure to have enough supplies on hand to fill all the necessary hampers.
We also continue to accept donations of food and toys in the lower level of our building at 220 Queen St E. If you can’t make it to our location, there is a toy drive at Canadian Tire on December 10, as well as a food drive at Your Independent Grocers on December 3. Both of these drives are being organised by our friends from the Perth County OPP Auxiliary, to whom we are very grateful for giving of their time in this way.
Speaking of food drives, the annual Halloween Food Drive organised by our friends at Grace Community Church in St Marys was once more a great success. The thousands of pounds of food brought in by their volunteers was gratefully received and has now all been sorted by our volunteers in readiness for distribution. The generosity of people in this community, both in donations and time, is never taken for granted by us at The Salvation Army and we realise that we could not carry out half of what we do without them.
As the song Silver Bells mentions, ‘soon it will be Christmas Day.’ Between then and now we will have a few busy weeks, but it is a good busyness as we all get into the spirit of giving. In between the moments of busyness I hope that you may find a few peaceful moments to reflect on the spirit of the season. I trust that you will have a Peaceful and Merry Christmas.