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White Plains Woman Rings in 6th Kettle Season

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- As Ann Allen Volpe, 82, embarks on her sixth holiday season ringing a bell to attract more funds for the Salvation Army kettle, the White Plains native says she hopes shoppers passing by her station in The Westchester mall realize the importance of giving during a down economy.

“All this money helps others that don’t have as much as we have. It couldn’t be a better organization as far as I’m concerned,” Volpe said of the Salvation Army. “I love my church that’s why it’s gratifying and I know I’m helping them to help others.”

Donations tend to speed up after noon, according to Volpe. People also grow more generous as the final Christmas kettle fundraising day approaches.

“Right now about a third of people donate that walk by, but that ratio increases as the season approaches,” said Volpe. Volpe said she was “raised in the Salvation Army,” and later followed the example set by her mother.

“My mother used to what they called saloon collecting on Saturday nights. She would go to the bar with her tambourine and raise money. I could never go out on Saturday nights when I was in high school because my mother needed me to watch my brother,” said Volpe.

For about ten years, Volpe became a Methodist because she smoked, which was not tolerated by the Salvation Army Church. However, Volpe said she always valued the charity of her childhood church and returned “as a dutiful daughter” to assist her mother with preparing meals and other tasks.

After ditching cigarettes, Volpe rejoined the White Plains corps, where she ran the soup kitchen.  “It was a big job. I used to be there from 5 a.m. To four in the afternoon cooking at least 50 meals.”

Does your family have any holiday traditions that involve assisting non-profits or giving back to the community? Join the conversation below.

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