You have probably noticed the appearance of the Red Kettle Bell Ringers at the entrance to many popular stores, doing their part to ensure those in need have a happy holiday season.
But the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign isn't the only way the Salvation Army is helping our community. They also assist the Marine Corp. with the Toys for Tots campaign, and hold free holiday dinners for those in need, as well as serve as an overflow homeless shelter on the extra-cold winter nights. Food assistance is also available.
The Toys for Tots campaign started in California in the 1930's, because one little girl wanted to help make Christmas merrier for another child, who was not as fortunate. This tradition continued and moved across the nation and now, new toys are collected every holiday season throughout the Hiawatha, Marin, and Cedar Rapids communities. Volunteers help sort the toys and with registration, which enables parents to pick out a few gifts for their children.
According to the BBC, the Salvation Army was founded in 1865, in the East End of London, by William Booth. Booth was an evangelist who wanted to offer practical help to the poor and destitute as well as preaching the Gospel to them. It was originally called the Christian Mission, but changed its name to the Salvation Army in 1878.
For more information about how to register or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit the Salvation Army's website.