grinchI cannot think of a time more crucial to the needs of the residents in our community than this Christmas season. With tens of thousands celebrating the holiday season with family and friends, it’s heartbreaking to know that hundreds of our residents are still displaced and without homes because of the ravages of Hurricane Matthew. Christmas will not be so merry for many.

However, if there is a silver lining to this cloud it is the heartwarming outreach of the people, businesses, churches and organizations of this community who have stepped up with time, talent, food, clothing, household supplies and money to assist those devastated by this catastrophe. And, the way Fayetteville, Cumberland County, Fort Bragg, United Way, Red Cross and Salvation Army and many other local organizations all rallied together to bring support and comfort to those victims. It is heartwarming.  

With people still without homes and residing in motels, raising awareness and raising money has taken on a high priority. Organizations like the Salvation Army who need money more now than ever. Thank goodness, this is the season for their annual kettle and bell-ringing efforts. Many volunteers from churches and community civic clubs all pitch in to participate in this extremely essential annual tradition. And, it’s fun ringing the bell, wishing passersby a Merry Christmas, acknowledging them for even the smallest contribution while making it a very, very big deal with an even bigger “thank you.” This is a unique and rewarding experience. 

santaThe Fayetteville Kiwanis Club (Est. 1920) proudly took on that bell-ringing project with the Salvation Army in 1975 when Cross Creek Mall first opened its doors. Supporting the Salvation Army was an important project for the Mall and the Fayetteville Kiwanis Club, and they never missed a Christmas Season ringing the bell in 40 years. Well, that was until this year. Enter the Grinch! Unfortunately, with approximately 72 hours to the big bell-ringing event on Saturday, Dec. 10, the Kiwanis Club was notified that they had lost their regular bell ringing location of 40 years and were asked to move the Salvation Army Kettle to a location at the main entrance to the Macy’s department store.

Well, you would think that Macy’s, with their notable history of holiday traditions, would have been the perfect location to share the Christmas spirit and Salvation Army outreach. Not so much. Enter another Grinch! Matter of fact, to the surprise of the Kiwanis Club, the Salvation Army kettle was not welcome at their store. So, in the spirit of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Macy’s and Cross Creek Mall (owned by CBL Associates), together, destroyed a 40-year-old Fayetteville community tradition in spite of the Christmas season, the good works of the Salvation Army and the desperate needs of the community.

Wow! This surely gives a new meaning to “shop local”. It is amazing how hard these national chains and businesses work to disconnect themselves from local communities.  Where do they think their business comes from? Well, thanks to some fast thinking and hard work by Bob McAmis, a very dedicated Kiwanian, and the wonderful folks at the Cumberland County Salvation Army, they were able to secure a new location outside Sam’s Club off Skibo Road. It was there that we celebrated our 41st year of bell ringing for the Salvation Army. 

We appreciate what Sam’s Club did for us, the Salvation Army and the needy folks in this community. It was a great day, a great experience and we raised a lot of money. We also learned who our friends are. We notified Cross Creek Mall and CBL with a letter and copied Macy’s in hopes that at least an apology would be in order. Probably not. Oh well!  

Thank you, Sam Walton, and thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. Merry Christmas!




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