Salvation Army Bell-ringer, Downtown Detroit, 1929

THE WAY IT WAS
Photograph courtesy of The Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

1929 During the holiday hubbub, it’s perhaps natural to think only of family and friends on our gift list. Charity may begin at home, but it doesn’t end there. There’s another list to consider, one whose names are Want, Hunger, and Poverty. The indigent may slip our minds, but the pealing bells of Salvation Army workers on chilly days and nights remind busy shoppers of the needs of the poor and neglected. In this tender photograph taken Dec. 23, 1929, a well-bundled child drops a donation into a Salvation Army kettle in front of the old Hudson’s department store downtown, to the obvious delight of the bell-ringer. The sign reads: Help Give Christmas Dinners to the Needy of Detroit, a plea that’s as relevant today as it was in this picture, two months after the stock-market crash that ushered in the Great Depression.

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