This past Saturday in the Byward Market, an ensemble from the Salvation Army were playing Christmas music for two hours. I photographed them at work, and have a video clip here. The first tune is 'In The Bleak Midwinter', though the second tune's name eludes me. Anyone who can identify that, please do so. The audio is more due to my camera and the wind.
These are the final days of the kettle campaign for the Salvation Army here in Ottawa (as well as in cities and towns across the world). The organization and church has its roots going back to 1865 in Britain, founded by Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine. The Christmas kettle campaign, started later in the 19th century as a way to give Christmas dinner to the needy, has come to be the source of funds for the Salvation Army's programs, which include shelters, street outreach, family tracing, community and family services, emergency response, transitional services, and more. In Ottawa, that includes the Bethany Hope program, helping young parents adjust to their responsibilities through education and guidance.
My mother impressed upon us that donating to the Salvation Army this time of year is the best way to do the most good, a lesson that's stayed with me. Donated funds stay within the community, put right into the programs. Here in Ottawa, as I assume to be the case in other places, the campaign wraps up on Christmas Eve (earlier than the stores close). If you haven't donated yet to one of the kettles in your area, put a few bucks into the kettles. It's the best way to help those who need it.