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Posted at 7:01 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Less bell-ringing equals less money

By Robert Betz, Arlington

Regarding the Jan. 14 letter “Stop targeting Giant Food:

Giant Food’s new nonprofit solicitation policy, which restricted the number of hours we could collect donations, had a negative impact on our annual Red Kettle Campaign, which supports year-round programs and services. For some, when all hope is gone, the shield of the Salvation Army is all they know to look for. The Salvation Army is doing the most good, day after day, for people who might have otherwise given up.

Giant Food has a large and reputable presence in the D.C. region. The fact remains, however, that the Salvation Army was not asking Giant Food for corporate money — just some space on its sidewalk. As it has for decades, the Salvation Army wanted the opportunity to set up a Red Kettle outside stores and ring a bell.

We humbly thank the many businesses in the D.C. region that hosted Red Kettles this past holiday season. Most important, thanks to all the many individuals, rich and poor, who found a little something extra during these difficult times to help the Salvation Army serve the neediest amongst us.

But to say that the Salvation Army for the D.C. region was not adversely impacted by Giant’s restrictive policy this year would not be truthful. It is an economic fact.

The writer is chairman of the Salvation Army National Capital Area Command.

By Robert Betz, Arlington  | January 18, 2011; 7:01 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, economy  
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Comments

Salvation Army discriminates against LGBT Americans and, thus, any business that keeps them off its property will have my support. My charity dollars will never go in a Red Kettle.

Posted by: TeddySanFran | January 19, 2011 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Not only that, but it doesn't help people unless they agree to pray and/or attend Salvation Army Services. That's not charity, that's bartering your God for food.
I know a social worker who was forbidden to visit her client, staying in a Salvation Army shelter, until she went to church. There might be some justification, though no real charity or compassion, behind making your help conditional upon religious indoctrination, but there is none for preventing an ordinary citizen from doing her job when she asked nothing from you but the chance to do it.

Posted by: Catken1 | January 19, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I support Giant's move to limit solicitation by the Salvation Army. I really wish they would ban them from their property. I am tired of right-wing nut political organizations hiding behind so called 'religion' to promote their narrow and hateful beliefs. They do discriminate against LGBT people and that by itself is offensive enough to make me never want to see a red kettle again! When I go to the grocery store I am going to buy groceries and do not want to be solicited, particularly by a hate mongering group like the SA!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | January 19, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

There are other sidewalks. Use them.

Posted by: ccs53 | January 19, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse


The Salvation Army can take their bells and kettles (along with their overpaid executive staff) and shove it up their a55.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 19, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of Girl Scouts selling cookies too, please. And other fundraisers as well. They are annoying. Let them put a collection bin somewhere, that's fine with me. I don't need people doing the "excuse me, sir, but would you..." The answer is no, that's not why I came to the store.

This includes, by the way, tables selling Post subscriptions, although I haven't seen that in a while so maybe they stopped that.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 19, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Izzy never would have done such a thing. When Royal Ahold bought out Giant, the quality, diversity of items,and customer service deteriorated. Bakeries are no longer as good--the artisan bread variety is gone. What a shame!

Posted by: commonsense101 | January 19, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight -- you asked, Giant said no, and you, as the chairman of your organization for this area, deemed it appropriate to go after them, insinuating that they are bad citizens, in a letter to the Washington Post editor?! The threat of bad press that you pose is both explicit and seriously alarming. No corporation would, nor should, choose to participate with any organization employing such repulsive tactics.

I sincerely hope that your superiors take quick notice of your attempted thuggery and relieve you of the responsibility for which you are clearly unsuited. Your kind of bullying has no place on the playground, let alone at the professional level of what is meant to be a charitable giving organization.

In the meantime, please go back to remaining silent, and being thought a fool, rather than speaking out and removing all doubt.

Posted by: CMaynard1 | January 19, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight -- you asked, Giant said no, and you, as the chairman of your organization for this area, deemed it appropriate to go after them, insinuating that they are bad citizens, in a letter to the Washington Post editor?! The threat of bad press that you pose is both explicit and seriously alarming. No corporation would, nor should, choose to participate with any organization employing such repulsive tactics.

I sincerely hope that your superiors take quick notice of your attempted thuggery and relieve you of the responsibility for which you are clearly unsuited. Your kind of bullying has no place on the playground, let alone at the professional level of what is meant to be a charitable giving organization.

In the meantime, please go back to remaining silent, and being thought a fool, rather than speaking out and removing all doubt.

Posted by: CMaynard1 | January 19, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

What's funny is that NPR recently had an interview with George Hood, who oversees development for the Salvation Army, about the move away from bell ringers to social media to raise funds. I guess Mr. Betz did not get the memo. That gives me a lot of confidence in this charity.

Charities using more social media to raise funds
http://marketplace.publicradio.org//display/web/2010/12/31/mm-charities-using-more-social-media-to-raise-funds/?refid=0&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+APM_MarketplaceMoney+%28APM%3A+Marketplace+Money%29

Posted by: Wallenstein | January 19, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

What's funny is that NPR recently had an interview with George Hood, who oversees development for the Salvation Army, about the move away from bell ringers to social media to raise funds. I guess Mr. Betz did not get the memo. That gives me a lot of confidence in this charity.
-----------------------
George Hood: My cynical side about five years ago said, there's going to be a day when these bell ringers and the red kettles are going to start to disappear.

Charities using more social media to raise funds
http://marketplace.publicradio.org//display/web/2010/12/31/mm-charities-using-more-social-media-to-raise-funds/?refid=0&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+APM_MarketplaceMoney+%28APM%3A+Marketplace+Money%29

Posted by: Wallenstein | January 19, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow !!! Some of you posters are just plain mean.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | January 19, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm stunned by the above attacks on the Salvation Army. Our culture and civility are crumbling before our eyes.

Posted by: concernedcitizen3 | January 19, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I've quit shopping at Giant. It's hardness of heart toward the Salvation Army is not something that I want to help sustain.

Posted by: jimb | January 19, 2011 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I've quit shopping at Giant. Its hardness of heart toward the Salvation Army is not something that I want to help sustain.

Posted by: jimb | January 19, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"I'm stunned by the above attacks on the Salvation Army. Our culture and civility are crumbling before our eyes."

Do you think it is civil for a charity (which gets money from people of all denominations) to force religion on poor people as the price of their assistance? Do you think it is polite to insist that starving folks worship your God before you let them eat? Do you think it is kind to treat other people as lesser human beings, unworthy of equal rights and humane treatment, because they happen to fall in love with partners your religion disapproves of, not because they're not consenting adults, don't behave responsibly, or don't treat their partners well, but only because they have the "wrong" body parts?

When an organization uses a charitable mask but behaves in an uncharitable fashion, it may expect to be criticized. Doing so is neither uncivil or uncultured - it is simply freedom of speech.

Posted by: Catken1 | January 20, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

"I've quit shopping at Giant. Its hardness of heart toward the Salvation Army is not something that I want to help sustain."

But you'll help sustain the Salvation Army's hardness of heart towards non-Christians and LGBT folk? Are those people less human to you, less worthy of compassion?

Giant is a business. It does not advertise itself as a charity, and has no responsibility to behave like a charity (although they do support many charities). The Salvation Army has no right to Giant's property to promote its goals. There are plenty of other places they may solicit donations.

The Salvation Army is a charity - or so it claims - and does therefore have a responsibility to behave charitably. When they claim to have as their primary motive helping the poor, but instead use that money essentially to bribe poor people with few other options to attend Christian religious worship, they are not behaving charitably.

Posted by: Catken1 | January 20, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

There are thousands of worthy homeless assistance non-profits in this country. Most do not have the baggage of a bizarre 18th century ideology of this group.

People donate or volunteer or assist in little ways to help these organizations every day.

Giant Food (a local/regional business) is not a barrier to any of that. And, they didn't say no to the S.A., they just limited the number of hours!

But this Betz character gins up this little "controversy" as a PR opportunity to generate sympathy for his archaic group's narrow agenda, which apparently is proselytizing, PR and fundraising for their own salaries first and actual assistance last. They are incorporated (for tax purposes) as a church not a non-profit and thus avoid being audited on a regular basis: www.charitywatch.org/articles/salvarmy.html

They are an international organization (HQ is in London) with annual income in the Billions of dollars.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | January 20, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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