To the Editor:
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get paid to spend a few hours enjoying people smiling at you, blessing you, even trying to find ways to give you COVID-safe hugs?
There’s more to it than that. Your boss would sincerely value and appreciate you. You’d be ringing a bell (your choice of either a handbell or a band of jingle bells) in front of a store where shoppers stream in and out. You’d be in charge of a kettle of money being donated to assist needy people in your local area. You’d be making a major difference to your community.
As you might have guessed, this job is joining the annual Salvation Army drive to collect donations to distribute in the form of food, clothing, and services to the people in your neighborhood who need it most.
To do this job, you don’t have to have a fancy resume. You don’t have to look like a movie celebrity. You don’t have to work long hours. You don’t have to be Christian.
There are, however, two drawbacks. One, it’s only temporary, running through the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, ending on Dec. 24.
Two, it’s cold outside, no way around it. You’ll need to learn how to dress. You’ll learn to wear your clothes in multiple layers, to wear mittens instead of gloves, and to use environmentally safe hand and body warmers that last for hours. Did you know that rechargeable hand warmers are available now that you only need to buy once? You’ll learn that you can bring a chair or rollator (a walker with a seat) if you’re unable to remain comfortably standing for very long. You’ll learn that resting your feet on a small, thick rug with layers of cardboard underneath will feel like a magic carpet.
Speaking of magic, you’ll learn that after Christmas Eve, the rest of the winter will no longer seem as cold for you! Your heart will be as warm as the rest of your body!
Last but definitely not least: adaptation is the key to survival. Although certain chapters of the Salvation Army acquired a reputation for being less than tolerant of the LGBTQ population, the entire organization has been working hard to upgrade its practices to welcome all people in need of help. To do otherwise would violate the most basic teachings of the faith that the Salvation Army is committed to support. In the spirit of due diligence, check out your local organization as thoroughly as necessary. I’m a humanistic Jew and fully support their efforts. I’ve worked as a bell-ringing kettle worker for three years with my local chapter after evaluating my Major thoroughly (he checked out with flying colors).
Please consider volunteering to help your community. You will feel the winter cold but it will change you, for the better, forever. And you’ll get paid.
— Randi Simon-Serey