Store Event to Benefit 96 Charities

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There is a reason that it seems as if every charity in town is selling tickets to Wednesday's preview shopping day party celebrating the opening of the Robinsons-May department store in the Glendale Galleria. Almost every charity is.

"I would say that one of the outstanding features of the event is that it's very inclusive," said Jim Watterson, Robinsons-May vice president of public relations. He said 96 charities from Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank are participating in the fund-raiser, which is expected to draw more than 18,000 people.

The list of groups includes churches, schools, two symphonies, hospitals, service clubs, Girl Scouts and health groups.

The charities get to keep all of the money they collect for the $5 tickets, which were provided by Robinsons-May. In exchange, each charity will provide between five and 10 volunteers to work at the party, greeting people, serving food and doing other light tasks.

"It's certainly not bad for the school," said Terese Baker, a parent from R.D. White Elementary School who is in charge of selling the tickets for the school's foundation.

Because her group has been selling tickets only since last month, while other groups have been involved since early May, Baker expects to make only $500.

But "it's $500 more that the school has to buy a computer," she said.

Neither Florence Hammer, administrative assistant at the Glendale College Foundation, nor Ruth Charles, president of the Guild of Glendale Memorial Hospital, believed that the large number of charities selling tickets would hamper their efforts.

"I think that we have a market just on campus," said Hammer, who expects to make between $500 and $1,000 for the endowment fund of the college's Social Science Department. "We have all the faculty and we do have students and people that are interested in that area. You are going to overlap, naturally."

Charles bought tickets from four groups.

"You can't refuse to buy a $5 ticket if you belong to these groups. I don't think (competition) has been a hindrance. You will buy them if you want them," she said.

Tickets will be also available at the door. Watterson said that cash from the door sales will be divided among the participating groups.

Glendale City Council member Mary Ann Plumley thinks that having so many charities selling tickets is a help.

"I think it's a fair way to do it. This is a good way of spreading it around," she said.

Plumley said she will attend the shopping day festivities, which take place place 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, and the store's official opening is Thursday.

"I think (the store) is a tremendous asset to the city. We're really excited about it," Plumley said.

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