Army Readies for Christmas

Kettle campaigns begin across the country

From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2005, the campaign raised a record $111 million nationwide, with nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all being returned to help those in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army to provide assistance to more than 31 million Americans in need.

Golden State’s growing tradition

Is your corps ready to take up the challenge?
The Modesto, Calif. corps initiated a kettle kick-off tradition that is spreading to other corps in the Golden State Division. The lunchtime event involves local community leaders heading teams in a dash to collect as many donations as possible in seven minutes.

This year over 1,000 people attended Modesto’s 14th annual kick-off, with 30 bell-ringing teams—including the Modesto police chief—collecting $195,928. Modesto corps officers are Captains Michael and Cindy Dickinson.

Divisional Commander Major Joe Posillico adds: “This year the Santa Cruz Advisory Board took up the opportunity and raised $15,500 at their first event. We now have 10 corps that hold such an event. One of these corps will actually do theirs the second week in December; it’s a Rotary sponsored event. Last year those participating raised approximately $675,000 in the one week. This year the nine corps have raised a total of $790,000.”

Our neighbors to the north

A large Salvation Army contingent participated in the 102nd Toronto Santa Claus Parade, one of the largest of its kind in North America. Led by a large banner proclaiming the Canadian Army’s new slogan, “Giving Hope Today,” the total delegation consisted of a color party, timbrelists, and a huge composite band including members of the Canadian Staff Band and musicians from several corps in Ontario Central, East and Great Lakes Divisions. Also participating were territorial and divisional leaders, including Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan, territorial commander. An estimated crowd of more than half a million viewers cheered on the band, supporting the message of the traditional Christmas carols and expressing their gratitude at seeing The Salvation Army in the parade.

Broadcast throughout the world, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is seen by a TV audience of more than 5 million in countries as far away as New Zealand, Norway and Ireland. It represents a marvelous opportunity for Christian witness and for greeting the many supporters of The Salvation Army’s ongoing work.

Also in Toronto, Santa looked on during an event at The Salvation Army’s Christmas distribution center as Canadian post office representatives—Santa Claus’s North Pole address in is Canada—made a special delivery of $25,000 to The Salvation Army for the Christmas Appeal fund, which will go to purchase Christmas dinner, toys and meals throughout the season for those in Ontario who need it most.

Children from a local school were present to deliver toys they had collected for marginalized children—and were pleased to visit with Santa!

2006 marks the sixth year that the Canada Post has supported the Army; this year’s $25,000 donation marks a $200,000 milestone for the post office.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, Canadians across the country will be walking or running in The Salvation Army’s annual family fundraising event, the Santa Shuffle, which occurs simultaneously in 34 cities. Participants collect pledges that are used to help feed vulnerable families. Approximately 6,800 people participated in 2005, raising almost $400,000.

Christmas in Intermountain

Even a cold, rainy night in Salt Lake City couldn’t keep almost 250 participants from The Salvation Army’s 4th annual Kettle Kick-off Run, which was highlighted by an anonymous gift of $50,000.

For several weeks prior to the Kick-off Run, kettle captains volunteer, beginning the donation collections in their businesses, service organizations and from friends and neighbors. The Kettle Run takes place at a special dinner as the kettle captains, in their evening wear and VIP sashes, dash among the tables of attendees and top off their kettle donations.

Guests dined on soup, sandwiches and desserts prepared and served by residents of the Salt Lake City Adult Rehabilitation Program—the same food as that served at the homeless shelter down the street, so that donors experienced how The Salvation Army meets the needs of the homeless community in their city.

When the total donations amounted to over $85,000, Major James Sullivan, Salt Lake City corps officer, deemed the event “a marvelous success.”

In Pueblo, Colorado, Captain Sam Rodriguez and the Pueblo Corps kicked off their kettle campaign at the Pueblo Riverwalk Christmas Celebration. The Starlighters Precision Drill Team from the Denver Red Shied Community Center drove 100 miles south to take part in the festivities. Other highlights included a 4 by 6-foot lighted display featuring the Pueblo Corps along the Riverwalk. This is the first year for the Pueblo Corps to participate in the citywide Christmas event.

Denver held its annual Red Kettle Kick-off at a Colorado Avalanche hockey game. Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Raymond Peacock and A/Captain Ron McKinney (Denver Red Shield) represented The Salvation Army during the pre-game ceremony, which included the unveiling of a 4 by 5-foot plastic kettle and a 7 by 7-foot inflatable Army shield.

Submitted by Roger Miller, director of public relations, Intermountain Division

A remembrance of Christmas past

This year, A/Captains Ron and Roberta McKinney of the Denver Red Shield have noticed more people coming to the Red Shield for holiday assistance.
A/Captain Ron shares this story:

“As we approached the Red Shield for the fourth day in a row we had people in line down the sidewalk and around the corner.

While Roberta and I walked through the gym, greeting those who had come to us for help, Maria—who lives around the corner—approached us with her 14-month old son. Beaming from ear to ear she said, ‘This is my son, Joseph, who your volunteer nurse gave CPR to last year when he stopped breathing while we waited in line for toys.’

We had forgotten the incident. Joseph had indeed stopped breathing last year, and while we awaited the paramedics, Barbara Cotton, an RN who volunteers for us—and by the grace of God was here that day—performed CPR and got Joseph breathing again.

My thought for all of us as we enter this busy season is “God has a plan for us, and he truly is the reason for the season.”

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