It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And for most of us, it is.
We love the celebration of family and friends, shopping, giving and unwrapping gifts, the lights, the tree, the music, the hustle and the bustle and all the other trimmings.
But, for some, in Christmases past, present and foreseeable future, many are forced to get through with precious little of everything we hold dear – loved ones, shelter, gifts and, worse yet, a full plate.
That’s why with just four days away from the Big Day, we can’t avoid or merely walk past the iconic red kettles of the Salvation Army and their faithful bell ringers dotted across the nation.
It is not a question of whether or not we have enough, or whether or not we ourselves are experiencing difficulty. There are always those fellow human beings who are in a worse position.
Times are no doubt tough these days. The economy is struggling to recover, scores have lost their jobs and there’s just too little disposable income for workers themselves.
It is now more than ever that we need to be our brother’s keeper.
The ever-familiar bell ringing is really a reminder of the true reason for the season – giving.
Giving to help those in need has been an essential part of the spirit of Christmas from the beginning, when the Three Wise Men made their way to a stable in Bethlehem with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In today’s modern world, giving typically takes the form of the exchange of lavish presents between family and friends. But selfless expressions of love in action to help the vulnerable can be even more rewarding, it being better to give than receive.
Whatever you have to give, whether your money, time or talents, this is the season and the recipients the reason.
We often overspend, overeat and overdo at Christmas.
It seems wiser – and healthier – for us to give more to ensure someone has a warm meal and a clean sheet.
Kettle donations enable The Salvation Army to share the Christmas spirit with those who more often than not are forgotten all year round – the sick, the elderly, the jobless, the poor, the lonely, and the jailed.
The Salvation Army provides food, toys and other gifts during the holidays. And throughout the year it is a refuge for the less fortunate.
Last year, the Army accumulated $539,000 in donations and their target for 2018 is $650,000.
At last report, up to the first two weeks in December, the Salvation Army indicated it had reached $70,000, so there‘s still a way to go and you can play your part.
Just last week, the Salvation Army began the distribution of over 4,000 hampers across 11 branches.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason who was hand to distribute the first set of packages urged Barbadians not to neglect their civic duty to help those in need.
“I want to… ask all Barbadians to give in whatever little way you can… whether it is of your money, of your clothes, of your household appliances or whatever. Continue to give to the Salvation Army because especially at this time of year, there are persons who can only survive because of the good will of the Salvation Army,” she said.
Here’s hoping that as we begin — or ramp up — our shopping for Christmas, we will all set aside a generous contribution to help brighten the day of some of the many members in need in our community.
We ask that when you hear the distinct ringing of bells at the familiar red kettles that you dig a little deeper in your pockets this holiday season. The change you give can help change the lives of people in our community.