Giving Back by Ringing the Bell in El Paso
Each Christmas for more than forty years Tomas has dedicated himself to ringing a bell for The Salvation Army in El Paso. As the holiday period approaches each year he looks forward to the opportunity to ring the bell and show people in his community the love of God all while supporting the ministry of the Army.
One of 13 children, Tomas speaks of the help his mother and their family received from The Salvation Army. “We grew up in poverty and I remember that The Salvation Army was Christmas for us. In our small house we had one room for seven boys, and another for all six of the girls. It was really crowded as you can imagine but it was filled with a lot of love,” he said. “Not only did they bring us toys for Christmas but the good people from The Salvation Army also gave us food and clothes.”
His appreciation of the assistance, freely given to his family by The Salvation Army, left a significant impression on Tomas. “My Mom found the Lord through The Salvation Army and I went to church a couple of times there as a child. I really liked the uniforms and how friendly everyone was,” said Tomas.
Years later, at the age of 19, Tomas first signed up to be a bell ringer and has worked each Christmas since. “I have always seen ringing the bell as ministry and an opportunity to let people know that God loves them. I am honored to represent a great ministry and organization in The Salvation Army.” he said.
When asked if he has a favorite kettle location, Tomas answered, “You know, I’ve rang in lots of different places over the years. I believe that God puts you in a particular spot for a special purpose – nothing is by chance. Someone might just need to hear ‘Merry Christmas’ from me or be told that God loves them to lift up and encourage them,” he said. “The kids really like the bell and it’s always fun to see them. It’s great to see parents showing their children the example of putting a dollar in the kettle, sharing what they have been blessed with and giving to those in need.”
The Salvation Army provides a wide range of services in the city of El Paso including emergency shelter, daily meals, a Family Store, emergency assistance and much more. “I see the work of The Salvation Army here in my city as well as around the world. They really practice what they preach,” said Thomas. “They have a heart for people and I am so happy to be able to give back for how they helped me and my family.”
Asked if he’s ready to ring again this year, Tomas replied, “I’ve already got my application in. As long as God gives me the strength I’ll always be ready to ring the bell.”