One of my first memories of the salvation army is a very familiar one to many people. When I was a very little girl, I was window shopping with my mom before Christmas at Macy’s 34th Street and we passed a Salvation Army volunteer. The volunteer was equipped with a bell and a kettle. We were very poor, but my mom reached into her old coat and threw a few coins into the kettle. I asked her, ” Why did you throw money into the kettle”? She replied, “because there are children who have even less than you and won’t get any presents this year under their Christmas tree”. She continued, “maybe they won’t even have a Christmas tree”. I had been saving for new box of crayons and a coloring book. Even though I was only five, my mom always rewarded me with a penny or two for performing small household chores. I threw my few cents into the bucket also. It made feel me good.
Five years later after I had been paralyzed by polio and was recovering in the hospital, I as well as all the other children, received beautiful gifts that Christmas through the generosity of all the people that had given to The Salvation Army way back in the 50s. I have never forgotten that . I always give every holiday season when I see the Salvation Army volunteer.
On March 18th, 2010, I was invited to the Vero Beach Salvation Army annual dinner gathering. I am a motivational speaker and I was asked to speak after dinner at this event. I have never been involved on that level, so I was not quite sure what to expect. When I arrived at the parking lot, I began to unload my mobility scooter from the back of my van. I was completely surprised when a young boy who had been playing in the parking lot, walked up to me and asked if I needed assistance. Wow, I was impressed already.As I rolled to the front door, a small elderly lady rushed to open the door for me. The evening turned out to be very uplifting. What a beautiful group of people. They all seemed to love to live and lived to love others.
There is something very inspiring about people who spend a great deal of time trying to make life better for people who have less than they do. No matter how little you have, it seems that there is always someone who has less. Are you willing to share and are you grateful for what you have?
What does it really mean to share? The answer is very simple. Maybe it’s one less fancy cup of coffee at your favorite upscale coffee shop? Or perhaps it’s a little bit more of a sacrifice. It doesn’t matter, but what does matter is the fact that you are grateful for what you have and you would like to make life just a little more comfortable for somebody else, even if it is just for one meal.
Comfort has a different meaning for each of us. For you it may mean a big house with marble floors and expensive paintings on the wall. For someone else it may be as simple as a hot shower and a bed in a shelter for homeless people. Everything is relative.
But one fact remains true, those of us who have abundance in our life must always remember that abundance is a privilege and loaned to us. It’s not as difficult as you think to share with others. You won’t even miss that one last cup of coffee you skipped. Remember that kindness and generosity always comes back to you when you least expect it. I received a gift of love that evening with the Salvation Army. As I drove home I questioned myself, ” can I do more”? Yes, I thought!
Let’s all thank the Salvation Army for all those they have helped and all those they will help.