Collaboration with Salvation Army gets GRC students into the spirit of giving

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Salvation Army, with a membership of nearly two million and a presence in over 130 countries, is one of the most well-known charitable organizations dedicated to serving the needs of others.

Throughout the year, George Rogers Clark High School students have had the opportunity to learn more.

During the last week of November, six students were at the Kroger on Bypass Road to help raise money, yet they also gained much more from the experience.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve been doing it [for] a few years,” said Michael Chamberlain, a resource teacher at GRC and former Phoenix Academy faculty member who works with students in math and history. “Each time we take students out, it’s something that allows the giving and generosity to increase.”

Headquartered in London, England, the international charitable organization’s efforts include running charity shops, operating homeless shelters, and providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to developing countries.

In the days leading up to Christmas, they are frequently seen outside stores ringing bells and asking for donations.

While excited for the opportunity, Chamberlain also noted that the idea of doing so was initially intimidating for some students.

“One in particular, as we began, stood to the back corner of the entryway to Kroger,” Chamberlain said.

However, the welcoming environment and cheerful atmosphere ensured it wouldn’t last long.

“We were able to see his anxiety decrease a little bit as we [were] getting warm reactions from those who are excited to give,” Chamberlain said.

Among those donating were several individuals who shared the organization’s positive impact on them.

An elderly widow of a WWII veteran mentioned that, during the war, the Salvation Army supported her husband and fellow troops.

“That experience from eighty years ago has created a mindset of generosity and understanding of how impactful the Salvation Army is in various ways,” Chamberlain said. “That was wonderful for the students to hear.”

In another case, a mother stopped by and told the students how – as a child – her parents relied on the Salvation Army during times of financial challenge and lack of resources.

“[They] weren’t going to have presents or [a] meal,” Chamberlain said. “When the Salvation Army heard that, they purchased a meal and presents…and made that really special.”

Such action made the woman a lifelong giver to the Salvation Army.

For students, from ringing bells to helping others with groceries, the experience was one that Chamberlain hoped they would learn much from.

“The social impact of greeting others with a smile on their face is a valuable experience that will follow all of them the rest of their lives,” stated. “It’s a perfect setting to make that happen, so I think there’s so much to gain for students and young families.”