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The Showdown of the Charity Bells

Approaching the corner of College Ave. and Allen Street, you are usually expected to be greeted by the sights of the Corner Room and the bustle of students running late to class, but not on this day. Two individuals are about to have a showdown not seen since the Wild West. This is the battle of the charity bells.

On one corner you have the traditional Salvation Army red kettle and on the other, the Centre County chapter of Interfaith Human Services, one you might not recognize. Both need money to help their charity’s causes, especially during this time of year. Both revert to asking for donations from passersby, but State College isn’t your traditional stand outside of the mall type of town. There are only so many corners in town, with the obvious choice being the corner of Allen and College. This sets up something rarely seen across America — two charities fighting for your money to help those in need literally 30 feet away from each other and quite possibly, your ears’ worst nightmare.

Salvation Army Red Kettle

Salvation Army volunteers stand at the Red Kettle on Allen Street

The bells only become louder as more people walk by, leading to the battle for donations. Both organizations are seeking funding to help Centre County residents in financial distress through their own specialized programs. The Salvation Army of Centre County provides services daily emergency assistance, a back-to-school program, and emergency disaster services to residents of the county who need financial help. The Red Kettle Campaign accounts for 30% of its yearly budget. Interfaith Human Services’ Wishing Well campaign helps fund financial assistance programs including a financial management program, a rental assistance program, and a fuel bank to help people heat their homes. This organization actually staffed the Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army prior to the organization setting up a branch in Centre County, making this simply a good man’s fight.

So the next time you walk past these people who are standing out in the freezing cold in order to help someone else, donate. Even if you just give a dollar, remember that anything is better than nothing for those who need assistance.

About the Author

Ted Hozza

Ted is a senior majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development, or as his friends here at Onward State like to call it, Architecture. You can probably find him at the Phyrst late at night with other Onward Staters if he's not somewhere else editing articles. You can follow him on Twitter @TedHozza or email him at [email protected]

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