by Sandra Sealy
You know it’s Christmas time when you hear the Salvation Army’s bells ringing.
With red and white coloured outfits matching the scarlet kettles, Anderson Blood Armstrong and Michael Mikey Mercer encouraged those frequenting the Massy complex in Warrens, St Michael to give.
The popular entertainers serenaded shoppers with carols and cajoled passers-by to donate and even posed with them for selfies. Joining in with the carol singing were Salvation Army volunteers like Eugenia Edey and Major Denzil Walcott, PRO for the Divisional Headquarters, who was pleased with the results at the shopping complex.
Every year, the charitable organisation seeks to ensure that the needy are fed. Walcott remarked: “We take food to people, especially via our mobile unit.”
This year the Salvation Army is aiming to raise $800,000, surpassing last year’s total of $620,000. To collect donations, there are 40 kettles around the island.
“We started a little earlier this year in October,” revealed Walcott, with the last two weeks showing a marked improvement in donations.
To continue the fund raising drive, he explained, “We are also having a mail appeal in May next year and around June-July a maintenance dinner with a speaker from overseas.”
The PRO enthusiastically acknowledged the hard work by volunteers.
“We’re having a food hamper distribution next week Wednesday [December] 16th and we have a number of people who come in days before to pack those parcels and control the flow of persons.”
Retiree Eugenia Edey‘s spirit of volunteerism started when she grew up opposite the Salvation Army, where her parents encouraged her to get “into the love, the sharing and caring . . . they often help the poor”.
Blood, no stranger to charity work, highlighted the importance of giving back: “The past three years we’ve been doing this. The people of Barbados . . . support the Arts and do their best to come out so we think we should give back, especially to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
The veteran producer planned to follow up his day of spreading joy by assisting the Love Day Project – the brainchild of Terry Mexican Arthur, created to spread cheer by delivering gifts to lonely elderly persons and the less fortunate.
Mikey is serious about charity work and also had no problem with answering the call from the organisation. “It’s really fun and we do it our way. We find innovative ways of getting people to donate.” He explained about the soca duo’s tradition of competing to reach 20 donations in each of their kettles first.
Donations can be made year-round by contacting the Salvation Army at 426-2467, via mail at Reed Street, PO Box 57, Bridgetown or visiting the website salvationarmybarbados.org.
Photo Credit: Seawoman Creative Media
Sandra Sealy is a freelance writer, copywriter, communications consultant and award-winning literary artist, with a passion for culture and the Arts. www.seawomancreativemedia.com