The familiar sound of a small bell being rung near a red kettle filled the air Monday morning as members from the Salvation Army's Burbank Corps kicked off the organization's annual holiday fundraiser.
Burbank Corps Lt. Jeremy Baker was joined by members of the organization's advisory board and Burbank Councilwoman Sharon Springer in front of the Pavilion's on Alameda Avenue, which is one of 13 locations this year that will have an iconic red kettle out front.
The kettles, which will be available to accept donations until Christmas Eve, will be in several locations including in front of all Ralphs stores in Burbank, the Vons store on Pass Avenue, in the parking lot near Macy's in the Burbank Town Center, Handy Market on Magnolia Boulevard and Hobby Lobby on Victory Boulevard, Baker said.
The money collected over the next month will go toward paying for the various programs and services the Burbank Corps offers the local community, including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Some of the other services include the organization's afterschool program, food pantry and youth character-building activities.
"The Salvation Army's red kettle is really important, not just for the holiday season, but all the money that is raised during this time of the year goes back into the community throughout next year," Baker said. "It's the main way that we fund the programs and services that we offer, so every dollar raised in Burbank goes back to Burbank."
Baker added that the Burbank Corps hopes to raise $70,000 during its holiday fundraising campaign.
Springer said it is important that residents continue to rally behind the Salvation Army's Burbank Corps and other nonprofits in the city.
"We have a real diverse community, and some people just need help," Springer said. "The Salvation Army and all the other nonprofits — the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Burbank Coordinating Council and the Bike Angels — are a big help."
Though the red kettle fundraiser focuses on monetary contributions from the community, the Burbank Corps is also looking for volunteers to help throughout the year.
Elaine Paonessa, a lifetime member of the organization's advisory board, said she has been doing her best to find Baker and his wife, Lt. Brittany Baker, some assistance when organizing the Burbank Corps' programs and services outside of the holiday events.
"They're not getting much volunteerism or anything down there," Paonessa said. "That's a problem, because two people can't do it alone."
To find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Salvation Army's Burbank Corps, visit burbank.salvationarmy.org or call (818) 845-7214.