In 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee hung up a crab pot from the local wharf at a busy intersection in San Francisco, the sign above it simply stated: “Fill the Pot for the Poor—Free Dinner on Christmas Day.” One hundred and thirty-two years later, the signs on the Christmas kettles in Moncton, N.B., testify that those in need are still provided with free dinners, along with so much more.

Easy Decision

Charlie Rossiter volunteers in the kitchen with The Salvation Army’s Moncton community and family services at their weekly Board Game Café outreach. Last Christmas, he also decided to help with their kettle campaign. Even though he was already involved with The Salvation Army, he was amazed to see all the services they offer.

“There was a long list on the back of the kettle saying how much The Salvation Army does for the community,” he recalls. “How much they give and do, all the meals served. It’s incredible, really. I have a compassion for others, and since I am retired and have more time on my hands, I wanted to be a part of an organization that helps people.”

It was an easy decision as to where he would volunteer his time.

“On my father’s side, my great-grandfather married a Salvationist,” he says. “I remember my grandfather—their son—taking me to The Salvation Army at Christmas to hear the band, and a lot of my relatives would be there. Also, my mother's side of the family were Salvationists from Monkstown, N.L.”

Kettle Etiquette

“Charlie’s such a positive and inspiring individual,” comments Tracy Sherwood, the Army’s program co-ordinator in Moncton. “He is very strong in his faith.”

“I share my life with the homeless and trust the Lord will use me,” Charlie says. “Some days, I might show up upset or bothered, but things always settle down quickly. It’s amazing how God can take over.”

Last year, Charlie’s kettle was inside the front doors of the Atlantic Superstore on Trinity Drive. He was constantly amazed at the generosity of people who support The Salvation Army.

"I’m a people person. I just love everybody—it comes naturally." CHARLIE ROSSITER

“It’s so incredible, it brings tears to my eyes,” says Charlie. “Some of them give something every time they come into the store. I hear older people come up saying things like, ‘My parents taught me to give to The Salvation Army when I was just a child, because they do so much for others.’ One lady said, ‘When I was little, The Salvation Army brought my family food and gifts. It helped us get through a real tough time, so I like to support them in every way I can.’

“I get it,” Charlie says. “Times are tough. If they’re on their way out of the store, they’ve probably already spent a lot of money on groceries. It helps that I’m a people person. I just love everybody—it comes naturally. Being friendly is a really big factor as a bell ringer. I always smile and make eye contact, and some people have actually turned around and come back to put money in the kettle. I always make sure to say, ‘Have a good day!’ no matter what. You can’t go wrong with that!” 

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