“If you just ring the bell once, you’ll be hooked on it,” said Denny Kay, who along with his wife Yvonne volunteers to ring bells at kettles for the Pittsburg, Kan., Corps.
To the delight of shoppers, they bring along Jack the Bible Donkey, a miniature donkey who loves to show off his tricks and doesn’t mind a friendly pat or a child sitting on his back.
“People love taking photos with him and put generous donations in the kettle,” said Yvonne. “It’s really a lot of fun.”
Jack the Bible Donkey makes regular visits to nursing homes, vacation Bible schools and churches to help share the message of salvation. The Kays also use their platform to encourage others to donate their time and resources to The Salvation Army through collecting change in a little box and putting the money into a kettle or by volunteering to ring the bell.
“It’s a real blessing to me,” said Lt. Mylie Hadden, corps officer. “We’re able to run our kettle campaign almost entirely on volunteer power thanks to people like the Kays.”
The Kays’ soft spot for The Salvation Army is the result of their own positive experiences. For Denny, it started with a care package he received while serving in Vietnam. For Yvonne, a fondness her father, a World War II veteran, held for The Salvation Army was passed on to her.
“My dad always encouraged me to support The Salvation Army,” she said. “When I got my first job, I cashed part of my check for silver dollars and put one in every kettle I passed. Now it’s paper dollars, but I still never pass a kettle without putting one in.”