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Charity in abundance

Salvation Army continues mission

Dave and Roberta O’Connell, of Uxbridge, braved the cold Monday to collect donations for the Salvation Army’s 119-year-old Red Kettle campaign. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
December 23, 2010
For longer than any shoppers can remember, it has been part of the holiday atmosphere — Salvation Army volunteers posted outside some of the most bustling retailers, ringing their bells and collecting donations for the needy in their suspended red kettles.

While some retailers have banned the holiday bell ringers from their storefronts in recent years, those volunteers who do brave the beginning of the winter weather still take pride in the charity work they perform and continue to ring their bells in hopes of making someone else’s Christmas a little brighter.

The red kettle campaign began humbly in 1891, with a single pot placed at the Oakland Ferry Landing by Salvation Army Capt. Joseph McFee — an attempt to raise enough money to feed San Francisco’s destitute on Christmas Day.

Nearly 120 years later, that simple gesture has snowballed into one of the most recognizable charity campaigns on earth, with bell ringers standing beside kettles in not only all 50 states, but in Asian, European and South American nations. Millions of dollars for outreach programs that assist the poor are raised each year.

This year, the Church of the Nazarene in Uxbridge has continued its holiday tradition of organizing volunteer bell ringers to work shifts outside the Walmart and Shaw’s stores in Northbridge.

Parishioners Dave and Roberta O’Connell, stationed outside Walmart Monday morning, volunteered for the first time this year.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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