USA Today is running a ‘Holiday Heroes’ series from now thru Christmas about people who go to great lengths to serve others. It’s a great read that will make your heart swell during the season of giving.
Grab today’s front page, or visit their website at www.usatoday.com. The hero they’re featuring this week is Stephen Smith, and get this – he’s only 11 years old!
But for the past 7 years (yes, his philanthropic spirit was inspired at the age of 4) he and his family go all out to donate Christmas presents to The Salvation Army for children in need.
We won’t ruin the story for you, but it’s amazing to read how a preschooler’s sincere concern for others has snowballed into a wonderful annual community tradition of giving back.
It just goes to show that absolutely anyone can make a positive difference if their heart’s in it. To Stephen and the Smith family, thanks for helping The Salvation Army do the most good!
Check out the Holiday Heroes article here. It’s a truly amazing story!
Starting today, Kroger is partnering with The Salvation Army and Feeding America to offer free flu shots to thousands of uninsured and underinsured individuals.
Customers interested in the free vaccine should stop by their local Salvation Army of Feeding America food bank to pick up a flu shot voucher. They’re good at Kroger stores or a Kroger banner pharmacy such as City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.
Every year 5 -20 % of Americans get the flu, while more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.
The Salvation Army and our partners are committed to promoting health and wellness and hope these vouchers will help protect many families and individuals this season.
We know. Salvation Army bell ringers are probably all over the place in your town! but there’s even more of them that you don’t see because their kettles are all online.
Yep. Virtual bell ringers.
And Jim Cummings from Denver, CO seems to be the virtual kettle king. So far this season his online kettle has raised a hefty $52,000, nearly 75% of his $70,000 goal. The guy’s good!
So good, in fact, that this is actually his 5th year in a row to raise the most money for an individual online kettle. As you recall, this Thanksgiving his efforts earned him a trip to our Red Kettle Kickoff in Dallas. In past years his outstanding kettle also won him another trip to Dallas to attend The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board Conference. Jim is on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Metro Denver where he is 1st vice chair.
Jim hands out and posts cards encouraging people to donate to his online kettle. This is one side…
How’s he do it? Jim does a great job of reaching out to friends, family, and coworkers through email to encourage them to help him fill his online red kettle. And even something as simple as an email pays off big.
“I am a retired partner of Deloitte and a large portion of my gifts come through present and past Deloitte personnel from all over the world,” he says. “I have received gifts this year from Hong Kong, UK and Germany.”
But as many contacts as Jim already has, he’s not afraid to enlist the help of acquaintances.
Jim regularly volunteers with a real bell and kettle at Walmart and the mall. When people pass by or donate their change, he hands them a card he pre-printed with information about how to donate to his online red kettle. They may forget Jim’s name and web address by the time they get home, but they’ve got the handout to remind them! He also posts the cards at various places like Starbucks and church.
[Jim Cummings ]
…and this is the other.
How does he feel after all that work?
“It was a lot of fun,” he admits. “A lot of people wanted to see me win.”
His impressive record has earned him a special nickname from his church pastor:
So what advice can Jim give someone who wants to support The Salvation Army but doesn’t think standing on street corners with a bell and kettle is their thing?
He recommends do it all online by hosting you own virtual red kettle. The website is easy to work with and raising support is as simple as sending an email to friends and family.
To start your own individual or team (yes, get others involved too!) kettle, visit www.onlineredkettle.org.
Who knows, maybe next year you’ll give Jim a run for his money for the 2011 title of #1 ding-a-ling.
The Salvation Army has a lot going on at Christmas time, but this year we’re trying something completely new, and we have a feeling that it’s going to be awesome.
It’s our inaugural Rock the Red Kettle Concert, happening in only one week!
On Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7pm PST at The Americana at Brand Shopping Center in Glendale, CA, the hottest new young rock bands are going to perform together for this FREE concert open to the public. We’ll stream the whole thing LIVE from www.ustream.tv/rocktheredkettle so you can even watch from your computer.
The hit lineup includes:
With this concert we want to reach and inspire a younger generation of philanthropists.
Plenty of kids, tweens, and teens are looking for opportunities to make a difference and get behind a worthy cause, so with the help of these bands, The Salvation Army is going to show them how to do it.
In between songs and sets, the audience will get to know more about the good the Army does and how the technology they use everyday can be tied in to support our mission. We’ve got everything from online red kettles, a Text to Give initiative, an iPhone bellringer app, and Facebook and Twitter pages ready to be harnessed by the tech saavy teenage masses!
Check back with our blog next Wednesday when we’ll post the live streaming video.
It’s guaranteed to be a rockin’ good time. You won’t want to miss this!