This holiday season, the Glendale Salvation Army aims to raise $120,000 through its annual red kettle campaign, $24,000 more than the nonprofit netted last year during the holiday fundraiser.
The Salvation Army kicked off the annual tradition on Friday morning with a breakfast at its Windsor Road facility attended by about 200 people who were served waffles and quiche by the likes of Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, Police Chief Ron De Pompa and Planning Commissioner Greg Astorian.
“We believe that this community will respond with greater giving once we serve out the greater need,” said Salvation Army Capt. Joshua Sneed, a co-leader of the nonprofit that uses rankings similar to the U.S. Army.
As people are still struggling from the recession, Sneed said he and his wife, Jessica, who is also co-captain of the organization, aim to serve more people in the community this year.
The Salvation Army in Glendale helps about 1,100 people monthly through its food pantry and about 45 children daily in an after-school program. Its transitional housing programs house eight homeless families at a time.
The kettle campaign is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Breakfast-goers were asked to write checks and give cash on Friday to kick off the kettle campaign, which will officially begin Monday at 10 to 20 retail and grocery stores throughout the city. The kickoff breakfast traditionally raises as much as the entire kettle campaign, if not more.
Last year, the Salvation Army raised $58,000 at the breakfast and $38,000 from kettles sprinkled throughout the community. At the first kettle kickoff breakfast five years ago, the Glendale chapter collected just $3,500.
“We want to put more food in the food pantry and more toys on shelves,” Joshua Sneed said, adding that for the first time this year the Glendale chapter plans to create a mock toy shop of sorts before Christmas in its gymnasium where needy families can pick up presents for their children.
Two speakers at the breakfast shared how the organization has impacted them.
For Marisa Lowe, a single mother, the Salvation Army helped her break away from substance abuse and reconnect with her children who had been taken away by the foster-care system.
Tanya Pemberton, who is training to become a Salvation Army pastor with her husband, benefited from the nonprofit after her husband also went through the organization’s rehabilitation program for drug and alcohol users.
“These lives have been transformed, but it could not have happened without community support,” Joshua Sneed said.
Of every dollar donated to the Salvation Army, 85 cents goes back to the community.
Norman Mamey, an advisory board member for the Glendale nonprofit, said even small donations can help.
“Every little bit of change can make a change in people’s lives,” Mamey said.