GREENBURGH, N.Y. Outside of the Citibank in the Crossroads Shopping Center, Larry Logan rang a white bell, smiling at passersby who stopped to drop a few coins or dollar bills into his red Salvation Army kettle.
"I like it," said Logan about his first season as a volunteer for the organization. "It keeps you busy, keeps you motivated. It's good work. I enjoy communicating with people. I'm a people person."
Logan, a Yonkers resident who works as a mover on the weekends, is one of 500 bell-ringing, apron-wearing volunteers in the greater New York area. While he has moved from outside the K-Mart to outside the Citibank, he greets shoppers with a large smile and a warm laugh, eager to spread cheer and joy. Logan modestly spoke of humility, happiness and staying on the right path, hoping that Greenburgh residents will have a warm and happy holiday.
"God is good," Logan said. "God is so good. He's been good in my life. Life's a journey, it's not a joke. When you're doing the right things, step by step, He is going to take care of the rest."
Last year, the greater New York area Salvation Army volunteers raised $25 million for people in need, said Denise Richardson, communications director for the Greater New York area chapter of the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army can be traced back to San Francisco in 1891 when the English sailor Joseph McFee searched for a way to raise money for the poor at Christmas time. He remembered seeing passengers from docked boats in England tossing coins into a large kettle called "Simpson's Pot." McFee set up his first kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign that read "Keep the Pot Boiling." He raised enough money that year to provide Christmas dinner for many poor families.
By 1897, six years later, kettles were nationwide, funding 150,000 Christmas dinners for the poor. By 1901, donations in New York City funded a sit-down dinner held at Madison Square Garden. They have since become a symbol of community and good will.
"That's where I get the strength from," said Logan. "When you help yourself, you can help others. That's the key."
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