Cathie Hays admits she wasn’t expecting much that day when she showed up for her shift at The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle inside a suburban mall. She had been a kettle volunteer for about five years and she knew that this particular location wasn’t one of the busiest. She resigned herself to a slow few hours.
“I’m one of those people who always says God has His plan,” Cathie explains. “And I didn’t know The Salvation Army Band was coming in the middle of the shift.”
Cathie says the band was going to set up in the middle of the hallway, but decided instead to form in a horseshoe – with Cathie in the middle. She simply states, “The magic began.”
People came from all over. Some started singing. Kids started dancing. The quiet kettle came to a boil. “People gave. I was almost in tears. It was a wonderful day. The evidence is there that people want to join in the true spirit of Christmas if they just have the chance.”
Naturally, every kettle shift isn’t quite like this one. Cathie says there are quieter moments that are equally meaningful. “The reality becomes more concrete. You realize we are all in this together. You never know. You could lose your job. Lose your home. This could be your neighbour that needs the hand.”