The Story of Change

People love to give back this time of year, and one example is with folks dropping money into red kettles for the Salvation Army, but where exactly does that money go and who benefits? “Giving is simple but its impact is big,” said Natalie Counts, Volunteer.


“Whether you’re giving a quarter or a dollar or $100 it adds up,” said Major Dan Matthews, Area Salvation Army Commander.


At first glance, a quarter might not mean much, but for the folks at the Salvation Army during red kettle season 25 cents goes a long way. In fact, your change, helps create change for the lives of several people in Northwest Arkansas.
“I remember always wanting to put change in the red kettle and that was just something that was just so fun for me as a kid,” said Counce.


Eight years ago, Counce started a coat drive for the Salvation Army. Since then, she’s gathered over 2,500 coats. Along with volunteering as a bell ringer, this past summer, Counce was a speaker at the Salvation Army’s Rock the Red Kettle event in Los Angeles.
“The Salvation Army wanted me to come speak at this event to just give those kids just a little extra encouragement and show them how easy and simple it can be to get involved and what a big impact it has,” said Counce.


“At night, when we count, these pennies can add up to fifty, seventy five, a hundred dollars in coins,” said Ben Godwin, Cadet.
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Godwin knows how the Salvation Army has made change in his life.


“I went through a dark time about five years ago at this time, which culminated in January of 2011 when I tried to kill myself. I felt very lost. When I came to the Salvation Army, I found my place,” said Godwin.
Like Godwin’s life transformation at the Salvation Army, the change you put in the red kettle transforms to become much more.


“When we walked in the warehouse, we were floored,” said Marcie Bayles, volunteer.
From toys to clothing for men, women and children, Bayles is a volunteer who helps fill Angel Tree gift request. “I’m trying to envision who that child is and what they like. I want to be able to connect with them, make them feel happy,” said Bayles.


Happiness is at a premium on this day. Shopping carts full of holiday cheer, for families struggling during Christmas time.

“Knowing that they get to have that Christmas morning feeling with their kiddos, that is huge for these families,” said Lindsey Strong, Volunteer Coordinator & PR Director Salvation Army


It all started with a quarter, making change in more ways than one.


From the donations received and gifts purchased, 739 families and more than 2,000 angel’s benefited from the Salvation Army’s two-day Christmas distribution.


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