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Salvation Army Honors Bell Ringers With Appreciation Reception

Published: November 17, 2018 at 07:30 am

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The Salvation Army kicked off its bell ringing season with a special Appreciation Reception at the Newtown Congregational Church on the morning of November 10.

The breakfast gathering honored its group of dedicated local bell ringers from previous Red Kettle Campaigns and invited newcomers interested in signing up to learn more about the initiative.

Glenn Nanavaty, president of the Newtown Salvation Army Committee, addressed the crowd at the room’s podium and thanked everyone for coming out.

Last year, because of the support from local bell ringers, he said, they were able to raise $10,000. The money raised goes towards supporting the community through Newtown Social Services and the Salvation Army Food Pantry, located in the Newtown Social Services department at the police station.

According to Salvation Army statistics for the Newtown Service Unit, from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, the organization helped approximately 148 individuals through the food pantry; nine families with housing assistance; 26 families with energy assistance; four families with needs like car insurance; and 62 children received backpacks and Payless ShoeSource gift cards through its Back to School Program.

“The money that’s collected through the Salvation Army helps so many families in need in Newtown,” Jacqueline Watson of Newtown Social Services and the Newtown Salvation Army Committee said.

Importance Of Volunteers

In addition to local representatives like active bell ringers First Selectmen Dan Rosenthal and State Representative Mitch Bolinsky being in attendance, Salvation Army state officials were also onsite at the Appreciation Reception.

Salvation Army Divisional Secretary Major Roger Duperree, Jr, gave a passionate speech about the origins of volunteerism dating back to the Biblical story of David defeating the giant, Goliath.

“Since then, through the years, people have been volunteering for Herculean tasks...” Mr Duperree said. “You see, friends, the giants that you do battle with today are no less devastating than Goliath was. He was a giant of a man facing men much smaller than him, and the giants that we face today — giants like homelessness and hunger and human deprivation at every level — are every bit as devastating.

“Yet you, as people, are willing to say, ‘I will do battle against that giant. I’ll volunteer for the Salvation Army, and together, we will hold hands and go into battle, because together we can make a difference.’”

In doing so, across the United States, the Salvation Army will be able to help nearly 30 million people who are battling those giants.

“We are grateful to you, because this is a battle we can’t win without you… please understand how grateful we are,” Mr Duperree said. “God bless you all.”

Salvation Army Program Secretary Major Carol Duperree followed her husband’s words by speaking a blessing over everyone in attendance.

“Lord, today as we come before you, we thank you for the health you give to each of us and the ability to serve others,” she prayed.

At the Appreciation Reception, the Salvation Army even received its first formal donation of the season when Katherine Simpson presented the organization with a $1,100 check from the Newtown Lions Club and placed it in the red kettle near the podium.

The Salvation Army is still in need of local bell ringers this season, with times available on Friday, December 7; Saturday, December 8; Friday, December 14; and Saturday, December 15. Participating bell ringing locations in need of volunteers include at Pizza Palace, Yankee Wine, Bottle Stop Wine & Spirit Superstore, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, The General Store, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Bagel Delight.

For those interested in signing up to be a local bell ringer for the Salvation Army, contact Anna Wiedemann at 203-417-3004 or 203-426-1035 or e-mail Steve Bennett at newtownringers@yahoo.com.

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