Church alliance bell-ringing campaign begins
A Union County holiday season tradition which is designed to help those in need is continuing this year.
The Union County Alliance of Churches again is sponsoring a bell-ringing campaign which helps to raise funds for local families.
“Even though the economic recovery in Southern Illinois seems to lag behind the rest of the nation, the residents of Union County are some of the most generous people anywhere,” Union County Alliance of Churches president Dee Armes said. Armes is senior minister at the First Christian Church in Anna.
Every Christmas season volunteers stand at the entrance of the Kroger and Walmart stores in Anna, often in inclement weather, ringing a bell to draw attention to the buckets that receive donations used to provide assistance to local families.
Utilities, rent, food, temporary housing and other emergency needs are funded by these donations.
The volunteer “bell ringers” come from several area churches, as well as from the Knights of Columbus, the Anna-Jonesboro Rotary Club and the local Christian Motorcyclist Association chapter, The Blood Bought Bikers.
Over the past several years there has been a gradual increase in the amount contributed to the Union County Alliance of Churches, with 100 percent of the funds which are donated staying in Union County.
“Therefore, when you see the Union County Alliance of Churches sign at the donation booth, you can be certain that your gifts will be helping those in our own neighborhoods and towns,” Armes said.
Collection times began on Black Friday and are scheduled to continue each weekend through the month of December, concluding just before Christmas Eve.
“Does your handful of change or the one or two $1 bills dropped into the white bucket really make a difference? Just ask the single mom with two children who is now able to keep the heat on in her home or the homeless man who is given shelter for a few nights,” Armes added.
“Does it make a difference to them? It most certainly does. Jesus encouraged our generosity when he told the crowd, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me,” he shared, citing scripture from the Gospel of Matthew.
“During this season of giving and sharing, a special thank you to all who help and to all who generously give,” Armes said.