The Saline Rotary Club listened to Chris Wood, Washtenaw County coordinator for The Salvation Army, at Thursday’s meeting at Travis Pointe Country Club.

The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London by Methodist preacher William Booth and his wife, Catherine. Wood’s ancestor’s, who were jewelers in London, were curious when they watched the group parading down the street in military-style uniforms, playing music and making noise and eventually, they joined the group.

“They believed people could change and become respectable citizens once again. And that they could change the world if you made enough noise and wore the uniforms,” Wood said.

Today, that spirit still exists.

“We feel like we can save the world. We believe addiction can be rehabilitated. We believe someone who made poor choices can turn their life around and start making good, healthy choices,” Wood said.

Salvation Army volunteers in communities across America, dressed in red aprons and often ringing bells, stand in the cold each Christmas season to ask people to donate to their mission. For this task the Salvation Army also employs some part-time employees – many of whom are uses of their services.

In Washtenaw County The Salvation Army operates two shelters and community centers. It provides housing access services which can help keep people from being evicted or get them to a shelter. The thrift stores also support alcohol and drug rehab centers in Monroe, Detroit and Pontiac.

About 80 percent of The Salvation Army’s donations come at Christmas, and the kettles program is still the organization’s top fundraiser.

You’ll find Saline Rotarians at the red kettles in front of Benny’s Bakery on Saturday mornings between Nov. 25 and Dec. 23.