Salvation Army Christmas events close out 2010
Olympia sponsors toy run
Around 15,000 motorcyclists—more than last year—assembled on Dec. 4, 2010, in Olympia, Wash., with bikes adorned in lights, garland and other Christmas decorations, for the 33rd Annual Olympia Toy Run sponsored by Majors William and Joy Lum, Olympia corps officers. Registration fees were a new unwrapped toy or $10 for single riders and $15 for doubles.
Volunteers lined the five-mile route with plastic bags to collect the donations, which totaled 13,463 toys and nearly $10,000 in cash.
Making spirits bright at the ARC
Orange County Women’s Auxiliary holds annual tea for ARC women.
by Dawn Marks
The Salvation Army’s Orange County (Calif.) Women’s Auxiliary members and friends received a warm reception from the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) women residents on Dec. 12, 2010, during the 9th annual traditional Victorian Christmas Tea at the ARC residence in Anaheim.
Prayer and a devotion led by Major Laura Heiselman, ARC program director and director of special services, sparked awareness for the different feelings and meanings that each women might attach to a single lighted candle, setting an atmosphere for reflection and sharing as each of the 24 ARC women was paired with a “new friend” from the auxiliary for the afternoon.
The Victorian-era inspired dessert buffet table featured tiered plates brimming with traditional tea fare—homemade English scones, lemon curd and Devonshire cream. Accompanying the desserts was hot tea poured from a silver tea service into vintage teacups, all donated by auxiliary members.
The afternoon ended with the presentation of Christmas gifts to the ARC women from the auxiliary and a tour of the living spaces at the women’s residence.
Preparations for the tea involve the participation of over 40 auxiliary members and friends. According to Heiselman, the ARC women also prepare for the event by reviewing and practicing social etiquette techniques including proper introductions, social conversation and table manners.
The end result was a time of sharing and encouragement in the spirit of God’s love at Christmas.
Still ringing after 55 years
For the 55th consecutive year, Merrill Fie took to the streets to ring a red kettle bell. Fie rings an actual Swill cowbell from the 1800s to ensure no one misses the sound of the bell. Fie, his family and friends staffed six kettle locations on the 16th Street pedestrian mall in Denver, bringing in several thousand dollars in cash and checks.
Turlock Silvercrest makes mittens
Residents at the Turlock (Calif.) Silvercrest made mittens and scarves to help the homeless. Edna Gilson, resident and chief sewer, procured the material and recruited Rose Porfert-Machado, Cheryl Fantazia, Cheryl Crevas and Edna’s granddaughter Elizabeth as seamstresses. The Salvation Army and “Turlock Cares”—a homeless service organization—will distribute the items.
You never know who’s watching
Volunteering brings positive results for a bell ringer.
by Roger Miller
“Can we shoot a story about a bell ringer?” asked a local Denver television station of The Salvation Army.
This seemingly simple request became the catalyst that reunited two family members who had been out of touch for many years.
While ringing a kettle bell and playing his guitar outside the Hard Rock Café in a Denver mall, Steve Schmidt recalled how the Harbor Light Relapse Prevention Program had saved him from an addiction that had alienated him from family.
Watching the broadcast in Kansas, Rick Schmidt—Steve’s cousin—was touched by how The Salvation Army was helping Steve.
“It was evident that he had an alcohol problem in the past and The Salvation Army took care of him. I had no clue about his situation,” Rick Schmidt said. “This gave me new light on The Salvation Army.”
When Rick Schmidt went to the TV station’s website to make a donation to the program that saved his cousin’s life, he read that Denver Mattress Company would match his contribution 100 percent.
Denver Mattress Company donated over $108,000 to the Intermountain Division of The Salvation Army through its 11th annual Operation Rest Assured charity campaign. This is the second year the company has matched online gifts.
“I would normally be for helping the area I live in. But in this case, I wanted to help the program that helped my cousin,” Rick Schmidt said.
Steve Schmidt was in a band that performed at the annual Salvation Army Christmas Day homeless and hungry dinner and toy give-away when he learned his cousin saw him on TV.
“I haven’t seen Rick in years. Guess I will try and get in touch with him and thank him myself and for the rest of the guys at Harbor Light,” he said.
You just never know who’s watching.
Have you heard the Rubber Band?
The Phoenix Rotary 100 Rubber Band is a Christmas tradition.
by Marlene Klotz-Collins
Forty-seven years ago, three men—all members of the Phoenix Rotary 100—decided they wanted to do something different to raise money for The Salvation Army. So they crashed the monthly board meetings of the three major banks in Phoenix, performing Christmas carols and turning a hat into a collection plate. They quickly expanded their venues to include bars, eateries, and other corporations.
Thus, the Phoenix Rotary 100 Rubber Band was born. “We called ourselves the Rubber Band to remain flexible,” said Rotarian Dr. Bob Lorenzen, a past president of Rotary 100, who has been a band member for 46 years.
Nearly half a century later, this legendary group has raised more than $1 million for The Salvation Army in metro Phoenix. In December, it boarded its chartered bus a total of 34 times over four days, raising $53,654. Long-time Army supporters Jim and Jo-Ann Armstrong, owners of JDA Software, used the band’s annual visit to JDA to make a surprise $500,000 donation to the capital campaign for the Army’s Phoenix South Mountain Kroc Center. Additionally, JDA and their employees donated $8,676 toward the day’s performance by the band.
“For the last five years, we’ve earmarked all collections by the band for the Kroc Center,” said Phoenix Advisory Board member Barry Shemer, a 31-year participant in the Rubber Band. “To date, Rotary 100 has contributed $322,000 to the center—$247,000 from Rubber Band plus $75,000 from Rotary 100, thanks to advisory board member Roger Marce, long-time Rubber Band contributor and president of Club 100 when the $75,000 donation was approved.”
Southwest Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Doug Danielson has played accordion in the band since 2007. “This has been a unique and extraordinary personal and fundraising experience,” he said. “To have an organization like Phoenix Rotary 100 embrace The Salvation Army as they have is truly an honor. The band is legendary.”
Dick Dunseath, Rotary 100 president, said, “The commitment of time to plan and execute is significant, but exceedingly worthwhile. Our members swell with pride when we report our final tally each year. A refrain we hear repeatedly from our corporate audiences is “‘Christmas for them doesn’t begin until the Rubber Band makes its visit.’”
Kids ride the Santa Claus Express
by Ricardo Tomboc
About 40 kids plus chaperones from the San Bernardino (Calif.) Salvation Army Corps were invited to take a train ride on the Santa Claus Express. For many of the kids, it was their first time on a train, which took them on a two-hour trip around the Cajon Pass.
The kids spent time with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, sang Christmas carols, and returned with memories of a wonderful time. The Arrowhead United Way in San Bernardino organized the event.
‘Tis the season for red kettles
Denny and Julie Hamilton—frequent bell ringers for the Renton (Wash.) Corps—took their two dachshunds, Smudgie and Gideon, with them this year. Julie said the dogs attracted people who would normally walk away. Some even went back to their cars, got money and brought it back.
A ringing success
Los Angeles Area Command’s Christmas luncheon hits new high.
by Robert Brennan
The California Club—a member’s only establishment in downtown Los Angeles—hosted The Salvation Army’s Los Angeles Area Command’s 3rd annual fundraising Christmas Luncheon on Dec. 16, 2010.
The Command’s advisory board decorated the tables with small red kettles as centerpieces.
Salvation Army band members supplied live music and everyone viewed a DVD of personal testimonies. Roger Van Veerssen, a U.S. Army veteran, shared his story of the renewed life and hope he found through the Army’s Haven program in West Los Angeles.
Actor, singer and director Robert Davi was master of ceremonies, stealing the show with stories of working with stars including Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, and sharing memories of The Salvation Army from his childhood.
Davi also oversaw the tabletop kettle competition. Guests had three minutes to stuff as much money as they could into their table’s kettle. The end result was a record collection of $105,722.05. (Yes, someone did give a nickel!)
The 2010 donation represented an increase of more then $20,000 from last year.
“We are so grateful to our board and each guest who joined us for this very special and successful luncheon,” Major Mike Dickinson, area commander with his wife Cindy, said. “We can’t thank Mr. Robert Davi enough. He is a class act and so instrumental in making this bell-ringing luncheon the record breaker it was.”