Salvation Army Burbank kicked off its ubiquitous red kettle fundraising campaign Monday, with organizers hoping to do far better than last year, when donations came in well below expectations.
This year, the local Salvation Army wants to raise $70,000 to help pay for community programs throughout the coming year.
“Last year, we didn’t make anywhere near it,” Lt. Kari Rudd of Salvation Army Burbank Corps Community Center said. “There was a huge rain storm the last few weeks [of the year].”
While there are grants and private donors, Rudd said the kettle campaign is the nonprofit’s main fundraiser, which allows programs to be offered to the community free of charge, including a food pantry, after-school homework lab, fine arts studio for pottery, music lessons for adults and children and parenting programs, Rudd said.
“The food pantry feeds over 25,000 community members,” Rudd said. “We feed about 500 seniors per month who are on a fixed income, we provide 30 pounds of perishable food each month.”
The money raised during the red kettle campaign will help supplement some of the free programs, Rudd said.
“The Lord always does provide,” Rudd said. “Sometimes I don’t know how, but he does. It’s amazing.”
The Salvation Army has tried alternative donation options in the past to make giving easier, such as deploying portable credit card machines for shoppers who weren’t carrying cash. But the national organization discontinued that program after about two years due to the expense of renting the portable machines.
Last year, the Salvation Army began accepting $10 donations via text messages nationwide.
The Salvation Army is continuing to pursue digital options by conducting a test run this year of a device called “Square,” which can be attached to an Android smart phone and serves as a credit card machine, according to Jennifer Byrd, public relations director at the nonprofit’s national headquarters.
The test is being launched in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago and New York.
To donate or for more information, call (818) 845-7214, extension 203
-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News
Mark Kellam contributed to this report.