This charity fundraiser began in 1891 in San Francisco and now is almost as much a part of the American holiday culture as Santa Claus.
Santa and the bellringers have a lot in common. Both try to bring joy and comfort into people's lives. Both rely on others -- elves and donors -- to make this possible.
This Christmas season is shaping up to be a difficult one for all local charities. Coming out of a recession that is still producing high unemployment rates, people are hurting. There is even greater need for the services offered by The Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Helpline, the food banks and other agencies.
It is understandable that people are clinging a little tighter to every dollar. But there is an old story about how a person thought he had it bad until he saw someone much worse off. It was then he realized how good he had it.
Take a good close look around the community. There are people without homes. There are families who are going hungry. There are children shivering in the cold.
Compare that to your own situation. If you come out on the winning end, then dig a little deeper in your pockets or volunteer some time to help the local agencies who are trying to care for those in need. You'll be glad you did.