Last week, Info-Pro had the opportunity to do some volunteer work ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at a local shop in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. At Info-Pro, we not only place high value on providing our customers with the best real estate tax monitoring, escrow processing, and flood determination services, but also on how we can impact our local community in a charitable way.
Throughout the year, we partake in multiple fundraisers for the community that benefit such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, local animal shelter, food pantries, and other charities that impact those in our community who are in need. We strive to not just be a company that exists in the community, but one that helps give back to the community. We use our talents to not only help our customers, but also to help our friends, families, and neighbors in the greater Fond du Lac area.
Why the Salvation Army?
We chose the Salvation Army as one of the charities we wanted to work with in 2018 because of all the good work they do for people not only in Fond du Lac but across the entire world. I am sure all of you are familiar with the Salvation Army, but you might not know what exactly they do with all that money collected during the holiday season.
The Salvation Army began in England in 1865 and aims to feed, clothe, comfort, and care for those that need help. There are 1,182,100 soldiers across 131 countries that serve as members of the Salvation Army. They run 1,625 community development programs, support 634,053 other community programs, run 461 homeless hostels, 235 children’s homes, 180 homes for elderly persons, 36 mother and baby homes, and 96 women’s and men’s refuge centers across the world. On top of all that, they provide services to the armed forces, disaster relief, and hospitals.
Needless to say, all that work has a large price tag associated with it, hence why they need generous donations to the bell ringers across the globe. In the US alone, there are roughly 25,000 red kettles placed throughout all 50 states, and in 2017 the red kettles collected $144.5 million in the US. On top of that number, online donations were $45.4 million. 82 cents out of every dollar the Salvation Army generates goes toward program services. Compare that to the average charity which spends 75 cents on every dollar towards program services.
Info-Pro gives back
We were some of the lucky bell ringers: we were able to ring our bell inside the entryway at the Kristmas Kringle Shoppe in Fond du Lac. The warmth of their foyer was far nicer than being outside in the 25-degree weather on a brisk Wisconsin December evening. The location was also ideal as the Kristmas Kringle Shoppe is filled with holiday decorations for people to purchase, so everyone entering was in the holiday state-of-mind.
During my shift, there were three types of people that came by: 1) those that would smile, say hello, and put some money in the kettle 2) those that would smile and say hello but walk by and 3) those that would try not to make eye contact as they walked by you.
I can honestly say I have been that third person a few times in my life, not having any change or bills on me and for some reason having a sense of guilt for not being able to donate anything. Being on the other side of the kettle has brought me a different perspective on this. Even a kind “Hello” without a donation is warmly welcome; we understand that in an ever-changing paperless transaction world not everyone has money on them, but a kind smile and a hello can help warm a cold bell ringer.
Overall it was a great experience and I would say about 60% of the people that came by did donate. From a few dimes and nickels all the way up to $5, no matter the amount the donation was, it was greatly appreciated and will go to some great causes!
You’re thinking to yourself, “That is great, but I don’t have the time to help since it is the holiday season and I need to get shopping done and get the house decorated,” or “I don’t know how to volunteer to be a bell ringer.”
Well, you came to the right place. If you go here you can find the kettle sites in your area and then search for dates and times you have available. You can ring the bell for as little as two hours and as much as an entire day if you are really feeling motivated—it’s that simple. It is a great activity to bring your kids along with to teach them about volunteering and donating one’s time and money, or you can do a group shift. A group of girl scouts followed my shift and they were extremely excited to get the chance to ring the bell. Take it from me and the rest of the Info-Pro Team, you will have a great time!
Have a safe and Happy Holidays!