Bell Ringer Profile: Carrie and Bernie Kaiser reap what they sow
The amount of good that Carrie and Bernie Kaiser do for The Salvation Army keeps growing and growing.
The Kaisers own an Excelsior-based agricultural company called International Feed. They and their employees have spent decades spreading goodness by ringing bells and volunteering for The Salvation Army. (Sign up to ring bells.)
Last winter, more than a dozen International Feed employees rang bells at a Red Kettle outside of a Lunds & Byerlys grocery store near their office (pictured right), sometimes braving blizzard conditions. The crew has also spent many years volunteering at Salvation Army Toy Shops, where thousands of local families in need receive new toys for Christmas.
"Supporting The Salvation Army brings a meaning to the holidays that you can't get from receiving a Christmas present or writing a check," Bernie said. "Intentionally doing something to help others brings more value."
The Kaisers first got involved with The Salvation Army decades ago when they started ringing bells with their three kids.
"Our kids were just babies," Carrie recalled. "We would ring a few times during the holidays and make it a family event. Our kids are in their 20s now, and they still talk about how The Salvation Army resonated with them.”
Carrie and Bernie (pictured right) were initially motivated to join our mission because people they loved were served by The Salvation Army many years ago.
When Carrie was a child, The Salvation Army helped her uncle after he returned home from fighting in Vietnam. He was a Yale-educated military officer who lost everything due to post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My mom said The Salvation Army saved my uncle and rescued his family,” Carrie said.
Bernie's connection is just as personal. A close friend of his who battled addiction found hope and healing at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis. The Harbor Light Center is one of the largest homeless outreach centers in Minnesota, providing shelter and housing for hundreds of people every night, along with hot meals, medical care, spiritual support, and other critical services.
"The Salvation Army was an option for my friend when he didn't have any other options," Bernie said. "Filling the kettles keeps that hope going.”
The Kaisers and International Feed employees are proud of the work they've done to support The Salvation Army and they are excited to continue serving far into the future.
"The Salvation Army is a great organization,” Bernie said. "We have always felt a responsibility to give something back."
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Bell ringing is a fun and easy way to make a big difference, with hundreds of kettle locations throughout the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota and North Dakota. Raise even more money by recruiting your friends, family and coworkers to join.
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This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle.