I’m not religious in the traditional American sense, though I am spiritual. I know I am not entirely limited to my body, but am a spirit or soul temporarily connected to this earthly entity. As a spiritual being, I recognize those who genuinely hold the spirit of truth, love, and kindness, as taught by traditional Christian religions, especially this time of year. Christmas, a pagan holiday adopted by Christians long ago, also is connected to the Salvation Army, a group that’s been part of my holiday season as long as I can remember. When I think of childhood Christmas days in the late 40s, a strong memory for me is the Red Kettle lady ringing her bell on the street corner where I donated nickels and dimes. Since that time, the Salvation Army has become greatly admired by me.
The Salvation Army has always been there to help those who need assistance with life's problems. For example, five years ago the Salvation Army was able to help find a family member, my brother Rich. When our father passed away, no one in my entire family, including my lawyer brother with his vaunted resources, was able to locate our missing sibling. The charge for this quickly and efficiently executed service was minimal, and my missing brother's right to privacy was totally and compassionately respected. The Salvation Army contacted Rich, told him I wished to reconnect and gave him my phone number. They do not convey the location of the missing person to the requestor because in some instances a person may not wish to have a familial relationship.
Although the Salvation Army's cost for finding my brother was minimal, I later made sure I sent additional donations that covered what I considered to be the actual costs of the work they did on my behalf. Their work was a special blessing to me, because I was able to regain communication with my brother, Rich, before he passed away in 2011.
The Salvation Army states its mission as “an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, is a ministry motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in his name without discrimination.” It certainly indeed applies this philosophy with programs that include, in addition to finding missing persons, disaster relief, prisoner rehabilitation, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and fighting human trafficking. The Salvation Army also has music and youth centers.
And though on Nov 26, 2012 there was a news story about a former top Salvation Army executive arrested in Toronto for the theft of toys and other goods from the charity, that is not a typical sample of the behavior by this group. The fact that the theft was discovered and reported by the Salvation Army to the police after the missing items were detected in an internal audit proves the integrity of the Salvation Army. The man was caught and charged.
For me the Salvation Army is the only non-profit organization I totally and completely trust to carry out plans for helping people. There are no ridiculous Wall Street salaries for staff, and the majority of their non-profit funds go directly to the work of the Army, and the products donated are given to those in need.
It’s that time of year to think of people and care about those who need our help. I say, give to the Salvation Army this Christmas season if you truly love people and want to help those in need.
And please note: I have no connection to The Salvation Army other than the missing persons help given to me, and the Army did not solicit my viewpoint nor approve or disapprove of this commentary.