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Three years ago, the Salvation Army near Chocowinity helped the Reynolds family following a devastating tornado. The now 14-year-old Kate Reynolds got to pay the gesture back with a viral video of a dancing bell ringer.
“It is amazing, isn’t it?” said Craig Reynolds.
Kate was staying with her grandparents, Craig and Ann Reynolds, when the tornado struck on April 25, 2014. Her parents, Alana and Justin, weren’t seriously injured even though the storm took the home off its foundation. The Salvation Army crews responded within two hours, delivering meals and other supplies to the Reynolds family and other residents whose lives had been upturned. The Army’s gifts to help toward recovery didn’t stop there, either, as the then-11-year-old Kate received a box of toys to replace some of the ones destroyed in the storm.
The family has since relocated to Sharpsburg, but the kindness and support of the Salvation Army was never forgotten. And on Dec. 5, Kate got an opportunity to repay the kindness in the form of a viral video of Rashad Poole, Salvation Army kettle coordinator, dancing to “All I want for Christmas” while ringing the bell and collecting donations in front of Belk in Wilson.
“I saw him dancing when me and my grandma were parking, but he’d stopped dancing by the time we got out of the car,” Kate said. “I asked him to dance again, so I could record it and post it to Instagram.”
Within 10 days of posting the short video, 98,000 people have shared it and nearly a million have seen it thanks to the power of social media and the press. Lt. Jake Law said the publicity has helped raise about $56,000 of the season goal of $100,000.
“I like giving to the Salvation Army because it makes me feel like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life,” Kate said. “That is what the Salvation Army is about.”
DOUBLE DONATION DAY
Law and Gary Proffitt, chairman of the social services division of the Salvation Army, said another effort to help achieve the lofty goal is the Double Donation Day on Saturday where 14 individual and business donors have agreed to match up to $10,000 of donations.
“The largest single kettle day last year raised about $9,000 total with matching contributions, but we’re hoping to blow that out of the water,” Law said. “We’re behind on our goal, but ahead of last year, so if we collect $20,000 on Saturday, it would really catapult us toward our goal.”
Law also has a friendly competition going with Poole to see who can generate more donations. Poole is slated to ring the bell — and do some dancing — at Hobby Lobby kettle from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday while Law will be at the Walmart Neighborhood Market all day.
“Our eventual goal is to have donations doubled every Saturday, but we’re not there yet,” Law said of the donation matching. “I believe we will get there, though.”
If you can’t put money in a kettle on Saturday but want to participate in Double Donation Day, Law recommends dropping off a check for Saturday at the Salvation Army or passing along a donation to a friend to drop in a kettle Saturday.
The Salvation Army also is looking for additional volunteers to ring the bell on Saturday and throughout the remainder of the holiday season. For more information, call 252-243-2696.