To the editor:
I saw an ad in the help-wanted section that bell ringers were needed. I needed a little extra income. The bell ringing provided that. What I did not expect were the lessons I learned about the kindness and generosity of God expressed through people.
I saw many people stop when they heard the bell ringing and bring money to donate. Some seemed to have no intention of giving until they heard the bell. Then the desire to meet the needs of others took priority over everything else.
Some donated on entering the store. Some on exiting. Some on entering and exiting. Some told me they never pass a kettle without putting something in it. Cars pulled over and sent someone to drop in money. Children gave. A boy on a bicycle stopped and donated. People needing the use of motorized scooters pulled up to give. Others breathing from portable oxygen gave.
People included me in their kindness. Two people brought hot chocolate to me. One gave a gift card to Starbucks. A couple went to McDonald’s and bought lunch for me. I received two Snickers bars. A man gave me two packets to warm my hands.
A man told me when he was having lunch, someone saw him give a prayer of thanks. The person observing was moved to pay for the man’s lunch. The man who had his lunch paid for gave the money to the kettle.
I considered it a sacred time when people paused and dropped something in the kettle. They were showing care for others they may never meet. They were sharing what God provided for them with someone who may have suffered through Hurricane Sandy, or are homeless or hungry.
When this life is over, our money won’t be of any use to us. What will live on is the hope that came by what we gave.