Dr. Tyler Taylor, father of Self Help, Inc. executive director Maura Taylor, rings the Salvation Bell in 2018. Courtesy photo
BY MAURA TAYLOR
Self Help, Inc.
Did you know?
Los Alamos County has its own Salvation Army outpost—Self Help, Inc, a Los Alamos-based nonprofit which provides emergency assistance to people in need. Each year, Self Help helps dozens of Los Alamos and White Rock families with necessities such as rent, utilities, medical care, and more. Where does the money used to help these families come from? Well, it comes from Los Alamos community members, many of whom donate through the annual Salvation Army Bell-Ringing fundraiser!
All holiday season long, festive Salvation Army bell-ringing volunteers are a familiar sight at both Smith’s locations, ringing their bells to bring cheer as well as attention to needs in the community. Generous community members deposit cash, change, and checks in the volunteer’s kettle, raising enough funds to keep neighbors in need warm and housed all year long—almost $18,000 in 2019, which provided aid to 70 Los Alamos County households in 2020.
This is a bell-ringing year like none other. Last year, Self Help wasn’t able to ring the bell due to safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. But help has been needed more than ever as people recover from the pandemic’s devastating effects. Fortunately, bell-ringing will make its triumphant return this holiday season to help meet these needs.
Funds raised through bell-ringing stay local! Self Help uses the funds to directly pay local landlords, the County utility department, pharmacies, and other vendors to secure access to necessities for local families—they aren’t used for overhead. Help us make the holidays merry and bright for local families in need this season!
Who is Self Help, Inc?
Though the Salvation Army is a faith-based entity, Self Help is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and is not faith-based—its work with the Salvation Army is just a part of its vast work throughout northern New Mexico. Formed in 1969 here in Los Alamos, Self Help provides financial assistance for basic needs, seed grants for education and entrepreneurship, and consultations to connect people with local social service resources. In 2020, Self Help assisted 452 families directly through small grants, and hundreds more with information, consultations, and referrals. About 18% of these families were from Los Alamos County, almost all of whom were helped with funds raised by bell-ringers. Any Los Alamos County resident is eligible for help in a time of need.
Self Help needs volunteers to ring bells in two-hour shifts Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 26th to December 24th, plus late afternoons in the days leading up to Thanksgiving (the 22nd-24th). Bell-ringing is easy, fun, and anyone can do it! It can be a great team-builder for staff teams or community groups, a fun way for kids and teens to get involved, or even a venue to show off the new guitar skills you learned during the pandemic. Each shift raises over $150 on average, so it makes a big difference!
In accordance with best practice and state mandates, bell-ringing volunteers will be masked this year, and will be encouraged to maintain social distancing. PPE will be made available, and rather than sharing props such as Santa hats, volunteers may bring their own or be given a brand-new hat.
To sign up, visit selfhelpla.org/bells, or contact the Los Alamos Volunteer Association at 662-8923. You can also contact Self Help directly at 662-4666 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have you!
About the Salvation Army
William Booth and Catherine Booth founded The Salvation Army in 1865 to help suffering souls throughout London. They served those who were not willing or able to attend – or even allowed into – a traditional churches/charities. Their mission was to serve the most destitute, and the ministry grew and became a worldwide organization. Each year, thanks to generous donations, The Salvation Army serves nearly 30 million Americans – or one person every second – from a variety of backgrounds. People receive assistance according to their need and each community’s capacity to help – regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.