Sawyer Wolfe one hour and 45 minutes into his two hour shift of ringing the bell in front of Roxy’s Market.  PHOTO BY JANA BOUNDS

59716 Volunteer: Bringing the kettle to Big Sky

Big Sky middle schoolers volunteer in front of Roxy’s Market

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign was launched by a single man with a singular idea – to feed 1,000 of San Francisco’s poorest residents a free Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, according to the Salvation Army. 

“In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry,” the website stated. “He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment.” 

His memory shot back to his sailor days and a large iron kettle he saw in Liverpool, England. Passersby would toss coins in to help those in need. 

So, he placed a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing and soon had the money required to make his good deed come true. 

The idea spread from San Francisco to Boston to New York City and then throughout the world. 

Around 125 years later, the Salvation Army kettle reached Big Sky with the help of Ophir Middle School teacher Joe Vincent. 

“It was easy to get started and the Ophir Middle School students have been great volunteers for this cause,” he said. “This is their third year now ringing the bell at Roxy's. Last year the Big Sky station raised over $8,200!” 

Vincent believes it is important to teach volunteerism at a young age – if they see the value in helping others it could become “an important part of their life down the road.” 

“Ringing the Salvation Army bell not only spreads holiday cheer while helping out members of our local community, but I believe it also helps middle school students to learn empathy through embracing an opportunity to help people who are less fortunate,” he said.  

The kids do have a few perks with the gig – they get to spend time with a friend and earn extra credit. 

Sawyer Wolfe and Zia Wier are using their extra credit in history class and Clara Bosworth is using her extra credit in math class. 

“Next time I do this I will probably go for history,” Bosworth said. 

Vincent said there are a few teachers who are offering extra credit to bell ringers “to incentivize braving the frigid temps for the two hour blocks of bell ringing.” 

“If one of my students can stand out there on the freezing concrete, speaking to people as they enter the store, then I am happy to give them some extra credit points,” he said. 

Also, Vincent is asking for community assistance, as there are many time slots still available. 

“We would love to have community members other than Ophir students out at Roxy's ringing the bell!” he said. 

There are available time slots every week day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. he said.  

“Please email me at Jvincent@bssd72.org if you would like to sign up and help out during the holiday season! The last day of ringing will be Dec. 24,” he said.

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