What if one year your family celebrated an untraditional Christmas? After all, wouldn’t there be an element of relaxation by avoiding the malls and the department stores? There’d be no last minute rush, less stress fighting traffic.
What if instead of buying anyone a gift, your entire family committed to experience one day of giving to others? Many find an alternative to a consumption-laden Christmas by spending the day serving a meal at a local Salvation Army site. The Christian ministry organizes Christmas meals for the needy at centers and shelters across the United States.
Obviously, the scope and reach of the Salvation Army is readily apparent as Christmas approaches. The Red Kettle Campaign is synonymous with Christmas shopping as retailers, many of whom strictly enforce “no solicitation” policies 11 months of the year, allow Salvation Army volunteers to ring bells and sing Christmas carols as customers donate spare change on their way in and out of stores. It’s a feel-good activity and can even be a moment for teaching children about the merits of charity.
Christians and values-minded conservatives should take an extra moment to consider the Salvation Army this Christmas. Unfortunately, in a time when scams abound and ambiguities on a cultural level compromise moral steadfastness, people have developed a growing wariness about their individual charitable giving. That’s why the Salvation Army’s public statements affirming the sanctity of life are refreshing, especially coming from such a high profile organization.
Conservatives can easily demonize major corporations that fund Planned Parenthood or other “women’s health” charities, however, the Salvation Army’s stance on life offers the other side of the coin and gives us an opportunity for positive reinforcement with companies for their contribution to pro-life values.
The Salvation Army website lists several corporate partners that support the organization’s programs and operations. Many of those like Walmart, Target and Macy’s which will receive a lot of our Christmas shopping dollars, rightfully earn our ire for contributions to pro-choice organizations, but welcome the Salvation Army during the holidays. Other companies like Hobby Lobby (which we know conservatives love to frequent), UPS, FedEx, J.C. Penney, Target, Hanes, Entenmanns’s, Sprint, Kroger, Walgreens, Big Lots and Odyssey Networks are all also listed as major supporters of the Salvation Army. Undoubtedly more companies have made significant contributions, including small businesses in every community. Certainly any local business with a Red Kettle out front this time of year is helping the cause in some way.
The culture war puts those with deeply held pro-life values in a tough spot as the forces advocating for abortion seem to have financial connections across the spectrum of business and charity. Values shape the way conservatives vote and, in many cases, how they spend their dollars. Sometimes it might feel that any participation with a major corporation or mainstream charity forces a compromise or violation of those values. Conservatives are overwhelmed by the sense that everything is politicized and liberals have shown that the fight for the culture is not won with a single election or legislation, but piece-by-piece through everyday engagement; a lesson that conservatives should heed.
For most of December, conservative shoppers will have the opportunity to help those in need each time they walk in and out of a business with a Red Kettle out front. Every penny given during the Salvation Army’s largest donation drive of the year supports an organization that advocates for traditional values, just as a portion of every penny spent at those retailers does the same. Corporations aren’t going to stop funding Planned Parenthood and its ilk overnight, however, the money that comes from bank accounts large and small to support the Salvation Army does help the organization spread its mission and values.
This Christmas, as we spend time shopping and seeing the Red Kettles outside the stores, it’s a good reminder that there are organizations (and corporate support for organizations) that are doing much good. Whether pushing for traditional values or supporting families in need during the holidays by serving meals, The Salvation Army is a good example of how following the money can lead to joy and happiness, which is part of the Christmas spirit that we all celebrate.
Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit 2ndVote.com.