Every little bit always helps and playing a part in putting together that “little bit” is quite satisfying.
This reporter picked up the bell and bucket and worked a bell-ringing shift for the Salvation Army Dec. 7 outside of Village Market on South Main Street.
In the roughly 90 minutes I spent on the job, about 30 people stopped to make a donation. Some did it quickly and went on their way, some stopped to talk for a minute, but all walked up with facial expressions and body language that said they cared about helping.
Marvin Wigert, 81, has worked as a full-time collector in Wellington for eight years. He said the Salvation Army raised about $20,000 last year within the village.
“I rang a long time ago at Wal-Mart but they didn’t want me to go inside the store,” he said. “That’s when I asked about coming to a location in Wellington. When I heard there was a spot open in front of both Village Market and Drug Mart, I knew it would be perfect. It’s a high-traffic area that lets you meet many different kinds of people and people from all age groups.”
Wellington water superintendent Mark Rosemark happened to be exiting Village Market about five minutes after I set up shop. After making a donation, he said talked about often carrying a guitar when he’s taken his own turn as a volunteer.
“I try to ring each year,” he said. “It’s easy and it’s always gratifying. I try to keep ones and change in my wallet because I hate to walk by without dropping something in. From my experience ringing the bell, I can say people are very generous and you love it when the kids put some change in. It’s terrific.”
Mary Lou Bartish, a former longtime Wellington resident who moved to Florida four years ago, stopped to contribute. She said the sincerity in how the Salvation Army spends its proceeds goes a long way.
“I love the Salvation Army,” she said. “I’ve done some shopping there and they’ve helped me out sometimes, so why not help them out? I worry about charities that don’t use their money the way they say they’re going to but the Salvation Army is not one of them. I think they help a lot of people out after fires and other unexpected setbacks.”
Six-year-old Finnegan Astley eyed me as soon as he and his mother, Erin Astley, exited their car. After a quick conversation in the parking lot, the two of them quickly walked over, made a donation, and talked about taking their own turn helping out.
“We rang a bell last year and the year before,” said Erin. We’re going to again before Christmas. We love doing it. It’s just a good family activity. Why not help people out? We sing songs, say hello to people we know, and look forward to it far in advance.”
Finnegan also eyed the box of candy canes sitting behind the bucket for those who donate and promptly asked me to come through on my end of the deal.
Admittedly, this was my first time ringing the bell and I went in not really knowing what to expect. The friendliness and warmth I encountered during my shift, though, quickly erased that uncertainty and I look forward to doing it again.
To make a donation anytime, visit www.neo.salvationarmy.org/northeastohio/wellington or mail it to the local office at 181 East Herrick Ave.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Three-year-old Titus Archer makes his donation to the Wellington Salvation Army.
Photos by Mark Rosemark | For the Enterprise Reporter Jonathan Delozier rings the bell for charity outside of Village Market.