Krystal Rash brings a radiance and energy to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles that resonates from
her personal experiences.

When Krystal lost her job as a machine operator at State Line Potato Chips after their Wilbraham site closed in the late 1990s, she found herself unable to pay her utility bills. That’s when she discovered The Salvation Army. For communities that do not have a Corps Community Center, our Service Extension program ensures the needs of every community are met without discrimination.

“The Salvation Army is one of the best places to get help when you need it,” she said. “There are many misperceptions about who The Salvation Army helps, but for me, as a transgender individual, they have always been there for me when I had no place else to turn and needed help.”

Her perseverance stems from growing up in foster care after her parents died when she was an infant. At the age of ten, Krystal’s
foster family already knew she was “different” because her foster brothers loved football and the male things she didn’t enjoy. As a result, she was treated differently—they didn’t give her an allowance and withheld food.  After leaving at age 18, she got her first job, but often slept on floors or couches. Beyond working at a factory, in the retail industry, and as an Elvis impersonator, Krystal’s strength has led her to help others.

If you see an enthusiastic bell ringer dancing and singing next to a boom box and giving out a small toy to children when they donate at her Red Kettle in Ware, Massachusetts this holiday season, it may be Krystal. “I love making people happy and bringing them joy.”

“The most rewarding part of working as a bell ringer each holiday season is people telling me their stories of how The Salvation Army helped them in times of being homeless and hungry. This is an organization that changes lives.”