As a part of its annual tradition, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department recently volunteered for the Salvation Army of Massachusetts by ringing the bell beside the organization’s famous red kettle.
Handing out candy canes and sporting wide smiles, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department staff stood in Downtown Crossing greeting passersby and wishing them “happy holidays” in hopes of earning their support for the Salvation Army.
The money raised by the “Red Kettle Campaign,” the origin of which dates back to 1891 in San Francisco, benefits the communities in which the funds were collected. In seasons past, approximately $100 million has been raised each year to provide food, clothing, shelter, and toys for over six million people during the holiday season.
“It’s imperative that the Sheriff’s Department support these causes,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins about the organization. “The services they’re providing, particularly to families of prisoners, are compatible with our vision and we’re glad to be a part of it. We’re honored to be annual participants.”
Speaking about his role in this year’s drive, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department External Affairs and Communications Deputy Director Edward Geary, Jr. described his time volunteering as“invaluable.”
“I had such a wonderful time supporting the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign,” said Mr. Geary, Jr. “At this time of year with their Christmas Assistance program, they provide help with dinners, clothing, and toys for families in need – including families of prisoners. Taking just a small amount of time out of the day to be a part of that by assisting them with the bell-ringing really warmed my heart.”
Those efforts, according to Salvation Army literature, include the running of activities and programs for at–risk children, care and essential services for seniors, support of soup kitchens and transitional shelter for the homeless, and many others – all of which are greatly aided by the fundraising drive undertaken by “bell-ringers.”
“The best part,” according to Geary, Jr., “is seeing so many people stroll by to take a candy cane courtesy of the Sheriff’s Department, and then dropping a little something in the kettle to help those less fortunate then themselves.”
Drew Forster, the Director of Communications for the Salvation Army of Massachusetts, expressed his gratitude for the support from outside organizations like the Sheriff’s Department.
“The Red Kettle Campaign is a terrific partnership between the retailers that allow us to stand, the Salvation Army and the general public, who help us to provide what’s needed in our communities. We appreciate the Sheriff’s Department’s participation. The celebrity bell-ringer program and participation of organizations like the Sheriff’s Office is crucial to shining a light on those needs in Massachusetts.”
To learn more about the Salvation Army of Massachusetts and its programming, visit: www.SalvationArmyMA.org.