The first link on our chain of love? Take a donation and treat to a bell ringer.
This was the perfect activity for day one. Both because it was one of the first bitterly cold nights we've had and because the Little Mouths had a school sponsored roller skating party and we were a little pressed for time. That Santa! He sure is a master scheduler!
While I made dinner, I printed out these flyers in black and white set the Little Mouths loose to personalize them.
Next we stopped off at McDonalds and grabbed three of these...
Then went off to find some bell ringers. We went first to the Kroger Marketplace and hit pay dirt. Two doors, two bell ringers! This would seem like it would be enough, but we had an extra Little Mouth last night and we couldn't leave her out of the fun!
At first they were tentative. They went together in a pack of Little Mouths. One had the flyer, one had the Hot Chocolate and one took the coins for the donation. They approached the bell ringer and gave them their goodies and ran back to the car, a look of shock on their faces like they were being chased by the Grinch who stole Christmas! They were afraid to do it, but more afraid to NOT do it and risk their names being scribed on the naught list for ever more.
They yelled Merry Christmas over their shoulders and ran back to the Big Mama's mini-van faster than if they were being pulled by eight flying reindeer.
At the next door, after they caught their breath, they once again piled out, calmer now and made their way to the bell ringer. They handed him their flyer and his cocoa. He was already sipping a beverage and instead of immediately accepting, he gestured towards his counterpart down the way and asked them to take the treat to him. The kids responded they'd taken one to him already. By that time, this nice man had read the flyer and a rewarded the Little Mouths with a huge grin and a booming Merry Christmas!
The ran back to the van and pile in, still breathless, but instead of fear in their eyes, excitement started to bloom.
We still had one flyer and one cup of cocoa left. We headed out in search of another bell ringer. Time was getting short and the skating party was starting soon. We drove to Walgreens. No bell ringer. Fresh Market. Office Depot. CVS. All of the Salvation Army stands were empty! Apparently, not enough person power to ring bells on a cold Monday night.
We finally found this gentleman at a Walgreens down he road from our house...
He was hunched over in the cold, his hooded sweatshirt tied tightly round his face with only a tiny hole for his eyes, nose and mouth to peek through. He was hopping from foot to foot and blowing on his cold hands when the Little Mouths dashed from the van. They handed out their loot and before they could even turn to run back o the van, he was sipping his treat and calling out his thanks!
This time when they ran back to the van their faces were alive! They were getting it! The REAL spirit of Christmas shone from their little dear faces and my loving, giving children once again replaced the terrors the frantic holiday season had morphed them into for the past few weeks.
They wanted to continue and find more bell ringers, but they were already late for their party and I wanted to make sure they were still excited for tomorrow's link in the chain, so we thanked the bell ringer for his service and drove to the roller rink.
One thing I did notice on our search for Bell Ringers, was the lack of bell ringers. As we drove past empty stand, after empty stand I made a mental note to come home and do some research.
I did, found out that some bell ringers are paid and some are volunteers. Here is a link to our the Salvation Army website where you can find out if there are opportunities to serve in your local area. I know we will be taking a turn at his next year!
National Salvation Army Volunteer Website
Use the zip code box at the upper right hand corner to find your local chapter. You never know, maybe some Little Mouths will bring you a cocoa and cup full of holiday cheer!
Anyone been a recipient of a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) lately? Tell us about it!