It is a familiar sight every Christmas. Salvation Army volunteer-bell ringers and their red kettles seeking monetary donations for those in need.
Speaking at the Army’s of Trinidad and Tobago launch of its 2017 Christmas Kettle Appeal at Movie Towne, Port of Spain, earlier this month, Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) judge, Justice Adrian Saunders lauded the organisation for its good work over the years.
“The Christianity that is practised by the Salvation Army is not so much consumed with ceremonies and rites and sacraments. Its mission goes straight to the heart of the Christian message of humility charity and brotherly love, not just by words but more so by deeds the church seeks to carry out and reflect the message of Christ,” he said.
He had a special appeal to those who can assist: “This year as the recession bites deeper into our incomes and the lifestyle to which we have accustomed ourselves, what we must all bear in mind is that there are those whose very existence depends on the kindness of those who can afford to contribute to charitable causes such as the Salvation Army Christmas appeal.”
According to Justice Saunders, a person who did not participate in any charitable endeavour led a parasitic life and sucked life from society without helping to nurture and build it.
“The message and example of the Salvation Army teach us to be very different. It is a message that inspires us to be generous to be caring to be compassionate,” he said.
Justice Saunders also admitted that the Salvation Army always intrigued him. “The truth is that Christmas is not the same without the sight of the members of the Salvation Army dressed in their attractive army uniforms, with tinkling bells and colourfully painted receptacles gently but persuasively seeking a monetary donation from those who can afford it for the benefit of those who are in need. This is as defining a feature of the Christmas seas as is parang or sorrel or black cake or ham,” he said.
“As a young boy eagerly looking forward to Christmas Day it was a sight that was always a glorious one to behold because it signalled that Christmas was near.
Of course, at that time I did not give much thought to the sacrifice and selflessness of those who stood vigil by these kettles day in and day out raising must needed funds to assist the poor. Regretfully we tend to take these things for granted but we must not. Community service of every kind must be recognised and exalted,” he stressed.
In TT the Salvation Army responds to disasters, cares for the elderly, engages in counselling and helps to feed the poor by providing food hampers.