Celebrities, Politicos, Kick off Kettles

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ORTLAND–Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber greets Lt. Mary Norton and Rebekah Norton at the Army’s Kettle Kick-Off as Lt. Darren Norton looks on.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber helped kick off The Salvation Army’s Kettle Drive on the steps of the State Capitol recently. A Salem/Portland brass ensemble directed by B/M Lars Lignell put listeners into a ready mood for the coming of Christmas.

Advisory Board Chairman Len Boeder reminded those present that the Army had been in Salem for 110 years and urged the continuation of our love and care for those in need. He expressed appreciation to Kim Locker, chairman of the committee of state employees, for the giving of toys to the Army.

Lt. Darren Norton, Salem corps officer, commented on the challenges of the next century and recalled the story of a large black crab pot placed in 1891 by Captain Joseph McFee on the docks in San Francisco. Within seven years the New York World hailed the Army’s Christmas kettle as the “newest and most novel device for collecting money.”

Norton added that every night in Salem, beds and hot meals are made available for homeless men, women and children at the Emergency Lodge. More than 2,800 people were served and 42,000 meals were provided during the past year. In addition, 10,000 families were assisted, 1,400 elderly people visited, and nearly 3,800 gifts distributed. Prison visitation, camping days and Christmas toys all were made possible by community giving. “Now that’s a lot to ask of one little bell,” Norton concluded.

The Governor reminded those present that at Christmas the needy think of food, clothing, shelter, “or a smile and a few friendly words,” and lauded the bellringers who are out in all kinds of weather. While the band played on, he led a long line of givers for the warming of the kettle on the Capitol steps.
–by Envoy Florence Robb

Southern California Division

The Los Angeles Holiday Kettle Kick-Off was held at one of Hollywood’s most enduring landmarks: the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax.

Fritz Coleman, weather anchor on NBC4 and popular local stand-up comedian, was Master of Ceremonies for the event and is The Salvation Army’s 1997 Christmas Chairman.

The season was launched with brass carols, singing, and “other merry-making.” Special guests included Ed Asner; Paul Peterson, Tony Pena and Kate Linder from “The Young and the Restless;” comedian Jack Carter, and media personalities Shawn Parr, Christopher Nance, Tony Williams, Dianne Barone, and Roland Galvan.

Captains Lee and Michele Lescano were hosted by Mr. Steve Knott, Orange County Advisory Board member, and the Knott family recently at the Annual Christmas Kettle Kick-Off held at the famous theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm. Participants arrived on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and were met by an excited crowd waiting for them at Calico Square. More than 60 kettles will be manned in Orange County this Christmas season, and a goal has been set of reaching 5,000 families with food and toys during the holiday distribution.

A classic car parade brought guests to the site. The Salvation Army’s Day Care choir performed, and local weather anchors squared off against local sports anchors in a special singing competition.

“We’ve held our annual holiday kick-off event at Farmers Market for over 10 years,” said Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred R. Van Cleef. “This year’s event promised to be better than ever, while reminding us of the importance of helping others this holiday season and throughout the year.”

This year, The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Goal for Southern California is $1.7 million. The Army is busy all year long assisting people with programs and services geared to the needs of the population.

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