It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Christmas trees wrapped in lights, hanging wreaths, garlands and bows all symbolise the return of the festive season.
Another sight come to be expected during the holiday is streets lined with The Salvation Army’s huge red brass kettles and the ever familiar sound of bells being rung by a smiling and cheerful volunteer beckoning to passers-by to make a little noise of their own by dropping coins in the tin and spreading good will and cheer by making the Christmas season, for someone a little less fortunate, a bit brighter.
At a ceremony, recently held in the food court of the Mall at Marathon with the melodious sounds of the St. Anne’s School Choir and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Pop Band wafting through the air, The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Drive was officially launched as Bernadette Christie, wife of Prime Minister Perry Christie, made the first donation into the kettle.
Over the next month, red kettles will be distributed to 30 businesses around New Providence.
On Saturdays, volunteers from the service and civic clubs in Nassau will accept responsibility for manning the kettles.
“Friendly competition” among these groups is high as the group raising the most funds are recognised during a Bell-Ringers’ Appreciation Luncheon at the culmination of the programme.
“Each year, we appeal to persons, usually caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season making last minute purchases to dig a little deeper in their pocket and purses which goes a long way to assist us in our mandate of meeting human need without discrimination,” said Major Lester Ferguson Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army.
“We have seen an increase in persons, young and old, requiring food assistance. While the majority of us will be enjoying lavish Christmas dinners with all the fixings, there will be many among us who will have no holiday at all. These funds will be used in The Army’s Christmas and ongoing welfare and community services.”
With donations received during last year’s Christmas season, The Salvation Army provided more than 5,125 individuals and families with meals, grocery baskets, food vouchers, toys and personal care kits during the Christmas season
And because the needs are so great, Major Ferguson expects that number to increase significantly this year.
“Firstly, I wish to thank all who have donated to The Army’s Kettle drive in the past and encourage your continued support as we are unable to provide the service without you. For those who have yet to give, no amount is too small. Let’s make this 2013 annual drive a record breaker, in terms of funds received, and one for the books,” he said.