Released 1 December 2011
The Salvation Army Southern California Kicks off the Kettle Season!
Christmas lights, Christmas carols and bell-ringing can only mean one thing - the start of the Christmas season here at The Salvation Army Southern Califonria. On Monday, November 28, The Salvation Army hosted its annual Kettle Kick Off at the Original Farmer's Market in Los Angeles, and the event was complete with Christmas festivities! Captain Dianne Madsen and Major Ian Robinson acted as the emcees of the event and got the crowd excited for the upcoming holiday season! Guests enjoyed singing Christmas carols, watching the lighting of the big Christmas tree, and drinking some hot cocoa on the chilly night.
This year, five special bell-ringers from around Southern California were honored during the ceremony and presented with a certificate of excellence. One bell-ringer in particular was awarded the coveted "Bell-Ringer of the Year" award for her continuous kettle support during the Holiday season. Donna Morin has been a valued kettle worker for the Whittier Corps for three years, and has already signed up to ring this year. Over the past three years, Donna raised over $9,000 for Whittier over Christmastime!
The night ended with the lighting of the Christmas tree and a great dinner at the Farmer's Market. The Kettle Kick Off is always a great way to start the holiday season and to honor all the hard-working bell-ringers who have spent countless hours ringing the bell for The Salvation Army. Thank you to all the bell-ringers around the world for all of your hard work this Chrismtas Season!
Here is a great article about Donna from the Whittier Daily News, by Sandra T. Molina:
Bell of the Ball
SOUTH WHITTIER - Donna Morin knows first-hand the good work and assistance provided by The Salvation Army.
A couple of times in her life, she has been homeless and found shelter at the organization's now-closed hospitality house.
Since 1998, during good times and bad, Morin, 56 of South Whittier, has been a bell ringer during The Salvation Army's holiday season fundraising program.
Her work ringing a bell outside stores and supermarkets to fill those famous red kettles has earned recognition as Bell Ringer of the Year for The Salvation Army in Southern California.
The announcement was made Monday night at the farmers market in Los Angeles, during a Christmas Kettle Kick-off ceremony.
"I was very surprised," Morin said.
She was chosen from about 550 bell ringers at collection sites throughout Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.
Morin has raised more than $9,000 in the past four years for the Whittier Salvation Army.
"Donna is one exceptional woman, who has a heart for helping others," said Maj. David Sholin, the Rio Hondo Area coordinator for The Salvation Army.
Donations provide Christmas dinners, clothing and toys for families in need.
Financial assistance also helps with basic necessities, along with seasonal aid.
Volunteers distribute gifts to shut-ins in hospitals and nursing homes, and shelters are open for sit-down dinners.
Many families receive aid over a period of months after the Christmas season, Sholin said.
There were five finalists - workers from San Gabriel, Hollywood, Compton, Redondo Beach, and Whittier.
Sholin said the local Salvation Army will be providing toys and food for more than 400 families in the Rio Hondo area, which includes Whittier, Pico Rivera, Montebello, Santa Fe Springs, La Mirada, West Covina, and Covina.
Salvation Army kettles can be found at about 25 supermarkets and department stores throughout the region.
Like most organizations, The Salvation Army has been hard hit by the poor economy.
"The Rio Hondo area has seen a decline in donations the past three or four years," Sholin said.
Still, people are still showing generosity for others, Morin said.
"People come up and put whatever they can in the red kettle," she said. "It really is part of the Christmas spirit."
One of her favorite parts of being a bell ringer is the smiles on the children's faces when she allows them the chance to ring the bell.
"They have a fun time," she said.
Morin can be found from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until Dec. 24 at Stater Bros., 14212 Mulberry Drive, Whittier.
562-698-0955 ext. 3029
original article: http://www.whittierdailynews.com