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I love love love the Salvation Army. More importantly, I love love love the outlet stores whereby I shop there on a regular basis. You probably do -- or know someone who does. It is one of the most visible examples of the organization. I know of several other examples.
For instance, the Salvation Army (SalArmy for short) does a lot of feeding. In good times and in bad, SalArmy kitchens work all of the time to provide meals to people who cannot afford a good cooked meal. People like my family and me when we lived in Augusta, Georgia, many decades back. Other people who were transitioning between jobs, or just stuck in a part of town which doesn't lend itself to a lot of good-paying -- or any paying -- jobs. The Salvation Army also provides rides to and from medical appointments for those unable to pay for a taxi, or nowadays one of those social media rides. SalArmy also coaches and teaches people how to get that next job and assists those by employing them at their outlet stores or distribution centers, where your old clothing, appliances and books and paintings and draperies and shoes and furniture and and and...goes.
To do all of that "most good" for others, the Salvation Army depends upon you and me to donate to help them. To do this, representatives of the organization, as well as people like you and me, stand outside stores, factories, and community venues, and encourage you and me to place change or dollar bills into the red kettle suspended from a tripod. To bring attention to this effort, small bells are rung by the volunteers to attract our attention to their kettle. This "bell ringing" is to remind you of the Salvation Army's decades of service to others and to thank you for contributing. This is where it gets a little sticky, and I hope to be as clear and upfront as possible.
With regard to participating in this fund-raising event each December, it is important to remember two things: one; you CAN INDEED participate in the "bell ringing" and standing in front of or around the kettle. You just have to do so NOT as a representative of the Boy Scouts of America -- in other words, in uniform. Nor can you place a placard or sign there stating that you and yours are a part of a unit of the BSA. I will get to the why in a bit. The other thing to remember is that you are there to assist the Salvation Army, and your Scouts CAN NOT use this time toward any sort of "service hours" in Scouting.
The graphic at the top shows "not okay" and "okay" ways to provide support to the Salvation Army while you are engaged in Scouting.
So, you say, this guy is telling us that we can't do a "Good Turn" to the Salvation Army? Where is this in writing?
Here -- from the backside of the BSA's Fund Raising application form. This is also explained in the BSA's Official Rules and Regulations:
From http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34427.pdf , UNIT MONEY-EARNING APPLICATION:
"7. Will the fund-raising project avoid soliciting money or gifts?
The BSA Rules and Regulations state, Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations." Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events. For example: Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Scouts or as a unit participate in the Salvation Army's Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization."
Now, the reason why this is not allowed:
"To keep the image of Scouting from being misused or misunderstood, the Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of Scouts, Venturers, or Scouters IN UNIFORM from soliciting for other organizations. Nothing keeps the Scout, Venturer, or Scouter from volunteering to help anyone or ringing bells for the Salvation Army. Do it as a good citizen. You are there for the Salvation Army, not for Scouting."