Salvation Army bell ringers are a part of Christmas tradition.  When I was a boy, you expected to see them while shopping.  My parents would give me coins or a dollar bill to place in the kettle.  My daughter followed the example.  The bells are sights and sounds of the season.

Mon and Dad also told me if ever I was down on my luck in life, the Salvation Army would be there. 

Locally, the closings of Kmart and Shopko mean the loss of two of eight locations in Twin Falls.

The kettle campaign has been the church’s most visible fundraiser in America, however.  In recent years, many stores have decided to change policies.  Some have told the Salvation Army so long.  Locally, the closings of Kmart and Shopko mean the loss of two of eight locations in Twin Falls.  Meanwhile, the two Kroger stores, Smith’s and Fred Meyer, could also soon be gone.  The kettle campaign is half the local budget for the church.  Then cut that in half!

Last year, some Kroger stores moved the bell ringers away from the doors.  Away from the regular foot traffic.  I spoke to one store manager and he was unaware of any policy changes.  It doesn’t mean he may not get new instructions.

And I caution:  Local managers are good hearted people but these decisions are made in corporate offices far, far away.

There was a young British pop-star who briefly considered walking away from singing at a Thanksgiving Day football game.  She opposes the biblical orthodoxy of the Salvation Army.  Then she learned about its charitable mission and now appears at peace singing at the stadium.

But it’s a mix of good and bad news.  When Chick-fil-A surrendered to the special interests of the LGBTQ movement, it promised to cut all Salvation Army Donations.  The restaurant also left behind the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

What the angry left fails to realize is the good work done by these organizations.  I’ve personally witnessed volunteers stuffing gift boxes for children.  I’ve witnessed the hungry being fed.  I’ve witnessed clothes being given to the poor.

Now who’ll save the Salvation Army?  Who’ll care for the kids?  Who’ll feed the hungry?  Who’ll clothe the poor?