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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Lessons I learnt about the Salvation Army

This time of year, one sees the ladies and gentlemen who represent the Salvation Army collecting donations in various malls and department stores.

It takes me back to the first time I saw a Salvation Army lady.

There she sat, a very well-dressed senior citizen, inside a department store with a bright glass ‘kettle’, ringing a bell to draw attention.

I thought, Wow! even the panhandlers in Canada are so well-turned out.

And how nice of the store to allow them to come inside from the cold.

I deposited the loose change in my pocket in the kettle as I left the store.

A few days later, I spotted another lady at another location. And then again, a gentleman at a third.

What was amazing was that they were all well-turned out, all senior citizens and all of them sat with that distinctive glass container and a little bell to draw your attention.

Were they part of a gang, I wondered. But how silly would that be, to be so easily identifiable.

I brought that up during our cigarette break with a colleague and it was then that I learnt of the venerable institution called the Salvation Army and all the wonderful work they do with the money they collect.

I have since made it a point to drop some money into the kettle each time I see one, with a little mental apology for having suspected them of nefarious activities.

– Ashwin Dhawan

What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Dec 1, 2016

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