In case you haven’t heard, Christmas is right around the corner. With decorations starting in August and non-stop festive music playing on the radio since the day after Halloween, Christmas has a way of starting fast and ending with a thud. There is still plenty of time to take back the holiday and perhaps there is no better way to get the process started than to give back as a family. In this third post in my “Walk the Walk” series, I hope to show you how easy it is to volunteer in Huntsville with your kids.
The Huntsville Salvation Army has been providing for the needy in various ways for years. This particular organization has a place in my heart for reasons that are pretty personal. My mom was the daughter of a sharecropper, and I will never forget her telling me about the best Christmas gifts she ever received as a child – oranges and a box of crayons from the Salvation Army.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. (Aesop)
1. Adopt an Angel
Adopting an Angel is a great way to bring the whole family into the act of giving back. Families and businesses have been adopting Angels for years and if you haven’t yet, this would make a great tradition to start with your family.
The process is simple, go to a Salvation Army Angel Tree, which is conveniently located at area malls and look at the Angels on the tree. You can also select a local Angel online! Angels have their ‘wish’ items listed so families can plan on what works for their budgets. Families can pick by sex, ages and can even adopt elderly Angels that ask for basic need items like robes and slippers. Presents should be returned unwrapped to the adoption location by the date provided.
2. Work the Angel Adoption Table
The local Salvation Army is in need of people working the adoption tables for this season and there is still plenty of time to sign up. This is an excellent way to serve with your family especially for those who may not have the funds to give, but can give their time. This is what my family did for this year.
My eldest son came straight to the Angel Tree from a scouting event, so he was still decked out in his Tiger Cub uniform. This worked remarkably to our advantage as he took it upon himself to not just sit behind the desk, but to actively seek out people. While I do not want our kids to channel Alec Baldwin from “Glengarry Glen Ross” (although his ABC’s, Always Be Closing, is not a bad mantra sometimes) it is important for them to feel that they are contributing and some people have a hard time saying no to children. Our son was soliciting help and he was bringing in donations and encouraging adoptions, so much that at times I could barely keep up with the influx of people. Families can sign up for as little as one hour and no prior experience is necessary.
3. Ring Those Bells
We didn’t get a chance to do this with the family before the article, but at last check there were still plenty of spots open for bell ringing. You’ve probably seen the red kettles every year outside of grocery stores and other retailers with the person ringing the bell. Well that can be your family out there and seriously can you not see your young ones having a blast ringing the bell? Just remember to bring earplugs for yourselves.
4. Help Out Our Seniors
This year the Salvation Army is looking for groups of people to deliver these gifts directly to elderly Angels in mid-December. Please contact the number listed below if you are interested in participating. A day and time convenient for your group or family can be arranged.
How to Sign Up to Volunteer at the Salvation Army
Simply go to the website and follow the instructions. Once you sign up you will get an e-mail confirming as well as a reminder e-mail before your shift.
Huntsville Contact: Captains Christopher & Kelly Bryan
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published November 2012 and updated each year.
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Caleb Walker is a husband, father, CFP, and friend to those who claim him. A rare Huntsville native he has always been used to the two questions that would be asked when he first met someone: "Alabama or Auburn?" and "Where do you go to church?" Religion and the South is like peas and carrots, it just goes together.