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OPINION

Bah Humbug! Belk Bans Salvation Army Bell Ringers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Belk has given Salvation Army bell-ringers and their iconic red kettles the heave-ho — just in time for the Christmas season.

The national department store chain will no longer allow Salvation Army volunteers to man kettles outside their stores — a move that is expected to result in a $1 million drop in donations.

“It’s a huge impact for us,” Salvation Army Lt. Rob Dolby told the Todd Starnes Show. “Those funds go to operate Christmas programs serving tens of thousands of kids.”

Dolby works with the Salvation Army in Anderson, South Carolina. He said the money dropped into those kettles also funds the operation of shelters, addiction and treatment facilities and youth programs.”

The Salvation Army said they were told the department store ban had something to do with a change in Belk’s “social consciousness.”

“We believe that a lot of Belk’s customers align with the Salvation Army’s views. We believe in saying ‘Merry Christmas’ because we believe Jesus is absolutely the reason for the season,” Dolby told the Todd Starnes Show.

So why — after all these years – did Belk decide to stuff the Salvation Army’s kettles with a lump of coal?

A company spokesman told me they decided to go in a different direction with a new “social impact program” as part of their “Home for the Holidays” campaign. And by holiday — I’m assuming they mean Christmas (but who knows?).

Belk has decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity International to raise $600,000 to build a house.

“There is great power in all our Belk associates and customers rallying around one cause – and we really want to focus all of our efforts on this impactful campaign,” the Belk spokesman told the Todd Starnes Show.

Certainly, Habitat for Humanity is a noble effort — but what harm is there in allowing the Salvation Army to set up kettles outside the department stores?

“The Salvation Army does a lot of important work in the community — and perhaps there will be opportunities to partner with them in the future,” the spokesman said.

To help offset the losses — the Salvation Army has set up a website where you can lend a helping hand.

Belk certainly has the right to kick the Salvation Army to the curb – but that does not make their decision right.

I just can’t imagine what the folks in charge were thinking — especially for a company that advertises itself as “Southern.” Maybe they’re under new management — “Potter, Scrooge and Grinch, Esq.”

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