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Salvation Army raises $35K at holiday fundraising kickoff event

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Husband-and-wife team Christopher Titus and Rachel Bradley were special guests at the Salvation Army’s annual Kettle Kickoff Breakfast held this week in Glendale. About $35,000 was raised at the event, which serves as a precursor to the organization’s major holiday fundraising push.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

While some are scrambling to score hot deals on Black Friday, Salvation Army’s local chapter will be deploying its signature bell ringers across Glendale and Burbank to raise money for needy individuals.

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the nonprofit’s annual Red Kettle Campaign, during which volunteers and paid employees will ring bells outside of stores in an effort to receive donations in their signature red kettles.

On Thursday, the local chapter jump-started the campaign by raising $35,000 at its annual Kettle Kickoff Breakfast held on Thursday at its Glendale center, according to Capt. Kelly Berggren, who heads both the Burbank and Glendale corps.

Nearly 175 people attended the event, which featured a performance by comedian Christopher Titus, of the eponymous television show that aired from 2000 to 2002, and his wife, Rachel Bradley, who is an actress and a producer.

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Everything raised through its Red Kettle initiative will “100% stay within the community,” Berggren said.

Practically, that means the nonprofit can continue an after-school homework-help program for children as well as stock the shelves of its food market, where families of limited means can get free groceries once a month.

The nonprofit also runs several homeless shelters throughout Southern California, and Berggren said the organization is trying to do more to help the large number of people living without shelter.

“We’re trying to get them off the street,” Berggren said. “If we can’t do that, we want to show them love and respect while they’re trying to better their lives.”

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Locally, the nonprofit hopes to raise $75,000 during the campaign, Berggren said.

Not long ago, the Salvation Army left its facility in Burbank. It has since blended the operations for both cities into its Glendale facility until a new location can be found in Burbank, Berggren said last month.

The change won’t affect the Red Kettle campaign, Berggren said.

Bell ringers — and their kettles — will be stationed in front of Ralphs, Vons, Big Lots, Hobby Lobby and other large stores across the two cities. The campaign will run until Christmas Eve.

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