Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff

The Salvation Army of Pasadena got a big boost as it started the holiday season, raising more than $62,000 at its third annual Red Kettle Kick-Off Breakfast in the UCLA locker room at the Rose Bowl recently.
And while much of that money was given by sponsors of the event, more than $18,000 was raised by donors at the breakfast, much to the delight of Kathy Larson, advisory board chair for the Salvation Army of Pasadena.
Larson said more money was raised than she expected.
“We raised more money today than we raised in the last three years (of the event),” Larson said. “I am absolutely overflowing with love, with gratitude, that this, our community, would come together on a day such as today and honor others.”
She added she would have still been satisfied if the amount were a lot less than it was.
“I was really praying for half of that, so that was really a blessing,” Larson said.
Terry Masango, a corps officer and pastor with the Salvation Army of Pasadena, said the organization is well known throughout the community for raising money during the holiday season by ringing a bell in front of a business and having community members donate money into a red kettle.
He added that the money donated almost always stays local and helps out those around the area who are in need.
“We turn around and use those funds for our community,” Masango said. “In each local community the funds stay there, and we use them for our Christmas programs and for the rest of the year.”
Some of the programs that are supported by the Salvation Army of Pasadena include serving meals to the less fortunate at Thanksgiving and Christmas and providing them with food all year long and purchasing Christmas presents for children who otherwise would not have any, Masango said, who added approximately $200,000 is expected to be raised this holiday season by the organization.
Jhoana Hirasuna, director of social services, agreed with Masango, saying the organization works the entire calendar to help those who are less fortunate, not just in November and December.
“We’re not just ring-the-kettle one time of year,” she said. “We do a lot of services throughout the year with our social services programs, youth programs, just the church in general, so it’s just getting the word out.”
One person who has been helped by the Salvation Army of Pasadena is Jasmine Reyes. Reyes said the organization helped her fight her 15-year addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“I was in and out of jail,” she said. “I went to the adult rehabilitation center of the Salvation Army in September 2011. It really changed my life. It showed me how to live and be a productive member of society. It taught me there are other things to do besides drugs and living a horrible life.”
Fritz Coleman, the longtime weatherman from NBC-4, was the breakfast’s guest of honor and featured speaker. He said what he likes about the Salvation Army – and why he’s been associated with the organization for 35 years — is because its members don’t seek attention for what good they are doing.
“I get to see the very humble work that they do,” Coleman said. “The interesting thing about the army is I would say the majority of the population doesn’t understand that 365 days a year they do just astonishing work with addicted people, with homeless people, with families of AIDS patients. But unlike a lot of other organizations they’re very humble about it.”
Those interested in donating to the Salvation Army of Pasadena or volunteering time, call (626) 773-4400 or log onto
pasadena.salvationarmy.org.

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