Editorial: Don’t ignore the red kettles this holiday season

The holiday season is a time for giving and it is important, in light of this economic downfall, that we remember that we don’t always have it as bad as some.

Lynn Collins, manager of the Charleston Food Pantry said there is a greater need for help this year because of the economic situation we are in.

“Need is up, and is always up around the holidays, and even more this year,” Collins said.

Students leaving for winter break may have some extra food they won’t be eating during break or taking home, and the Charleston Food Pantry is a great place to donate that food. It is located in the basement of the First Christian Church at 4th Street and Jackson Avenue.

Another way to help those who may not have meals for the holiday is by giving spare change to the Salvation Army. A mere 48 cents, or more or less, can go a long way.

We’ve all seen the little red kettles outside of Wal-Marts, malls or other stores and next to them is usually a person bundled up trying to stay warm as they ring a bell.

Every holiday season, the Salvation Army sets up these red kettles hoping to receive monetary donations from customers who go in and out of the stores.

Whether you donate a dollar or the 48 cents in change you had leftover from your purchase, a contribution of any size helps.

According to salvationarmyusa.org, the U.S. Salvation Army assists more than four and a half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons with help from the change they receive in the little red kettles.

The kettles are a tradition started in 1891 by Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee who wanted to provide a free Christmas dinner for the poverty stricken in San Francisco. The tradition has spread during the years, across the United States and also across the world. Kettles can now be found in Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries.

And most towns have a local Salvation Army where clothes, toys and household goods can be dropped. The nearest in Coles County is located at 1300 Richmond Ave in Mattoon.

If you look through your closets, you will likely find at least one or two winter clothing items that you no longer wear or fit in – these can be given to the Salvation Army or local clothing drives instead of throwing the items in the trash.

There are those who cannot afford to have a holiday meal, buy a new winter coat, replace holy gloves or buy a toy for their children, and although most toy drives and clothing drives have ended for the season, there is still a lot that can be done to help make someone else’s holiday season a little brighter.

We may be broke college students about to face a slim job market, but we’re still in a better position than many others. Let’s give back and feel good about being positive in a world on uncertainty.