Why I Ring: A Grandmother's Legacy

Dec 1, 2023 | by Major Curtiss Hartley

 Tina Gines showed up at The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle location at Muncie Mall armed with a bright smile, and an old 8"x10" photograph. Before donning the red bell ringer apron, she proudly held out the picture. It showed an aged woman, dressed in the uniform of The Salvation Army, and standing at a Red Kettle stand inside the mall.

“That’s my Grandmother Grace,” Tina said. “I’m volunteering here to ring the bells to honor her memory.”

She went on to explain the impact her Grandmother Grace had on her as a little child.

“My Grandmother and I went to the Muncie Salvation Army every Sunday when I was about five years old, from 1973 until about 1978,” Tina shared. “My Grandmother Grace raised me and my five brothers just a few blocks from The Salvation Army in downtown Muncie, near the YMCA.

“What I remember the most about going to church there was how everyone made us feel like family. On your birthday there was what they called a penny jar, and we would be called down to the front to put our hands in the jar and grab as many pennies as we could with one hand and put them in the offering.”

Tina said she knew there was something significant to her grandmother volunteering to ring the bells at Christmastime.

“She would go to the mall every year to, ‘Ring the bells for Christ,’ is what she said; we knew that the mission for Christ was the most important thing to her,” Tina explained. “She always told us that the important part was to share the love of Christ.”

As a child, Tina couldn’t join her grandmother to ring bells at the mall. “We did not have much, so we could not afford any toys. For a child to go to the mall and see all the toy,s but we could not buy them, was hard,” Tina recalled. “My grandmother knew that, so that's why she could not take us.”

Tina shared that she can look back and understand the impact The Salvation Army had on her grandmother and her family.

“I remember being a child in need, and I remember we had a church send us help with food and a few toys at Christmas time. I believe it was The Salvation Army who helped us,” Tina added. “Many years have gone by, and my grandmother was sick with cancer. She passed, but I’ve learned from ringing the bells myself that it’s to share the love and serve Christ, to be his hands and feet.”

Grandmother Grace’s example instilled that same desire in her granddaughter. “Some people would say, ‘Hey, glad to see someone out ringing the bells; we don't see too much of that anymore.’ So, that encouraged me to do it every year from now on and to spread the word of Christ. I was Blessed!”

Volunteer bell ringers help to make Salvation Army ministries possible not just at Christmas, but also throughout the year. Sign up today at RegisterToRing.com and start making an impact in our community!

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