Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 22

COURTESY THE SALVATION ARMY
COURTESY THE COPPER FAMILY

For 15 years, youth pastor Roy McVeigh of Augusta has encouraged middle schoolers and high schoolers in his church to
become bell-ringers for the Salvation Army.

Dunwoody resident Todd Copper smiles after collecting a $100
donation for the Red Kettle Campaign.

15 years. The idea grew out of a way to give back
during the holidays that went beyond bearing gifts.
"I was looking for a mission that helped an organization behind the scenes," he says. "I talked to the
Salvation Army about a bell-ringing project, and we soon
signed up to do it for a whole day."
McVeigh enlisted members of the youth group at his
church, Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church. The
kids signed on for a full day of bell-ringing at the
Augusta Mall.
"We go from 9 in the morning until 8 at night, with
four or five kids per hour," he says. "They love it so
much that last year we did two locations. It's become a
tradition for our youth group."
Generally, McVeigh says, his crew of about 40
middle schoolers and high schoolers collects about
$1,000 in the day, aided largely by their willingness to
engage the public.
"They do all kinds of stuff, like dressing up in Santa
22

hats and singing. The Salvation Army supplies the bells,
kettle and red aprons, and I let them have fun and run
with it," he says.
While McVeigh is overseeing the operation, he also
hears firsthand how much the day means to both givers
and ringers.
"I hear their stories all day long about how the
Salvation Army has mattered," he says. "One thing I have
found is that people give to teenagers. Put youths out
there with a little bit of energy and smiles on their
faces-well, if I were out there ringing all day long, I
wouldn't make as much money."
This year, you'll find the youth group on Dec. 16 in
front of the Hobby Lobby on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway in the Augusta Exchange shopping center.

Todd Copper, Dunwoody
For 21 years, Todd Copper has been the harbinger of
the holidays at Perimeter Mall on Atlanta's northside.
Having cerebral palsy doesn't keep this chipper 44-yearold from being one of the Atlanta metro area's top
fundraisers. In fact, in 2015, he raised $12,100 in just six
weeks of bell-ringing.
"Twenty-one years ago, we were brainstorming that
Todd needed a real job, and then one day at the mall, we
heard that bell," recalls mom Becky Copper. "It dawned
on us that he could do that. So he applied and started
working from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. from the 15th of
November until Dec. 24. He did the whole season and
loved it."
What makes the job so enjoyable is the positive way
people interact with Todd Copper. "It's a great place to
be and be seen, to meet and share stories," his mother
says. "Todd interacts with the many people who stop and
talk to him. He worked for 15 years at a local movie
theater and went to school in the area, so many people
know him and stop to catch up."
Again this year, Copper will be near the Nordstrom
store, where employees look out for him, Becky Copper
says. "He has to wear layers and layers of clothes to keep
warm, and he can't move around. But Nordstrom gives
him beverages, and even customers have stopped to ask
if he needs anything. They've been very generous."
During his shifts, Copper often takes pictures of
people dropping change in the kettle and posts them on
Facebook to remind people he'll be there. Even when
he's on a break, a sign on his kettle directs people to
where he's eating in the mall, and many seek him out,
asking to sit with him while he eats, his mother says.
Copper freely notes the support he gets to do the
job, but he shyly acknowledges his own contribution.
"Doing this, I can help [others] a lot more than they
help me," he says.
H.M. Cauley is an Atlanta-based author of three
guidebooks to Georgia and a feature writer whose work
regularly appears in local newspapers and magazines.

More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

GEORGIA MAGAZINE


http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 7
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 8
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 9
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 10
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 11
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 12
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 13
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 14
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 15
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 16
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 17
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 19
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 20
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 21
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 22
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 23
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 24
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 25
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 26
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 27
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 28
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 29
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 30
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 31
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 32
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 33
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 34
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 35
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 37
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 38
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 39
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40C
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40D
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40E
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40F
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40G
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40H
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 41
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 42
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 43
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover4
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