In today's wanderings from shop to shop I met Major Ezra Pills of Cloverdale’s Salvation Army on the side walk near Wonderland Bakery. He was collecting for the Army's Christmas Fund. We spoke for several minutes about the village's poor and needy. I was surprised to learn that Cloverdale had a small population needing assistance. I suppose one doesn't always see what one doesn't look for. A good lesson for us all to learn.
The Confederacy’s Salvation Army ministers to the people in our neighborhoods through their local Citadels (congregations). Each citadel is commanded by an Officer. Cloverdale's newly appointed commanding officer is Major Pills. He leads God's soldiers in a war against poverty, disease and ignorance. His troops work in our neighborhoods feeding the hungry, clothing the needed and providing shelter to the homeless. The Salvation Army hopes to bring the love of Christ into the hearts of all who will listen. They begin with putting food in your stomach and clothes on your back. Once your daily needs are met then spiritual ones can be addressed. They need your help to do this, especially during the holiday season.
Major Ezra Pills spent today on the High Street asking people to drop a few coins into his red plastic collection can. Normally the Citidel's band joins in the effort by playing Christmas carols. Unfortunately, Cloverdale’s Citadel is too small to have a proper band, so the Major sang as he walked the sidewalk going from shop to shop asking everyone he met to give to God’s less fortunate children. A copy of the Army's newspaper 'The War Cry' was given to everyone who donated, along with an invitation to come to the Citadel for Sunday services.
"A nice cup of tea and biscuits follows every service," the Major added with each invitation.
The Major and I spoke of the true meaning of Christmas and the good work the Salvation Army does in the community. The Major was respectful of my Mormon religion, even praising the good work Mormons do around the world. In fact, the Salvation Army and the LDS Church are usually the first organizations to bring relief to stricken areas.
Every few minutes during our conversation the Major jingled his red can. He was reminding me of something I should have been doing. He was on the street raising money for the poor and I was occupying his time. We were having a good conversation about religion and I didn't want to walk away until I learned more about the Salvation Army. After several jingles and a few polite points to the top of the can I soon understood the meaning behind the Major's gestures. He was happy to give me his time as long as I generously dropped money into the can every time he jingled it. So in the end, I donated my way through an interesting and informative conversation.
I urge everyone to give to the Salvation Army this holiday season. Be kind and drop a few bills into their red kettles and thank them for their good work in the community. Give someone less fortunate than you a Very Merry Christmas.