May 29, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Salvation Army Red Kettle bells ring in the holiday season

3 min read

IECN photo Ricardo Tomboc: Pictured from left: City of San Bernardino Fourth Ward Councilman Fred Shorett, Major Daniel Henderson, and Mike Gallo, candidate for Mayor, at the Red Kettle Campaign last Wednesday.

IECN photo Ricardo Tomboc: SB County Supervisor James Ramos and former Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown are longtime supporters of the Salvation Army.

The Red Kettle tradition that began in 1891 in San Francisco and rapidly spread throughout the United States and into the European countries will be in its 126th year. This year the San Bernardino Salvation Army Citadel Corps held its annual Red Kettle Campaign with a luncheon at its Pacific Street Facility on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The luncheon was attended by several Salvation Army Advisory Board members and officers and also included several civic leaders and business leaders from the community.

Bill Turner, one of the Soldiers at the Salvation Army Corps, shared his story about how he went to the Salvation Army for help many years ago. He saw people that had been transformed from their previous life, and he wanted to do the same. After a short while Bill became a volunteer and became well known in the neighborhood knowing most everyone by their first names. Bill, affectionately called “Uncle Bill” by his friends, became a mentor and a supporter of many of the people that came for help. Bill was hired by the Corps and took on many responsibilities. Now after several years of service, Turner will be retiring at age 80, by the end of the year; but will return as a volunteer.

Former San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris and Superior Court Judge was the keynote speaker for the event. Morris gave a history of the “Red Kettle” and its tradition. Morris talked about his long-lasting partnership with the Salvation Army as a judge in Drug Court when he would send people to the non-profit for rehabilitation.

James Gonzalez was one of those that Judge Morris assigned to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). During Gonzales’s recovery, a transformation took place that eventually caused him to grow in his faith and in his work responsibility. Gonzales is currently one of the main supervisors in the ARC program.

The Officer overseeing the San Bernardino Corps, Major Daniel Henderson, spoke to the audience saying, “the investments made (to the Salvation Army) will pay dividends for years to come.” The support of the community is much more important this year than in the past. The Salvation Army has experienced a 30% reduction in grant funding, but the basic needs of the community are still the same.

Ray Bloom is an Advisory Board member with the Salvation Army Corps and has taken it upon himself to create a “Construction Certification Program” to help people get employed. Michael Ayala completed the certification program and was hired by one of the course instructors to refurbish one of the houses on the Salvation Army property. After demonstrating his ability to work hard, Michael was hired by Elite Financial as a Lead Sales Executive.

Although most of the kettle workers are part-time seasonal employees, 30% of the Bell Ringers do volunteer their time. Volunteers help cut the cost of the Bell Ringing program, making more funds available for clients’ needs. Volunteers are needed to help with the Bell Ringing activities every day. One person can take on an entire 6-hour shift, or several people can divide the shift into smaller segments. Musicians can perform by the kettles and a small group may choose to sing. Businesses, churches, schools, associations, fraternal organizations, social groups, clubs, teams, etc. are encouraged to sign up and take on a kettle.

Call 909-888-1336 for more information on volunteering or to make a direct donation to the Salvation Army Corps.

IECN photo Ricardo Tomboc: Former San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris rang the first bell of the season during the kickoff event at the Salvation Army Corps in San Bernardino last Wednesday.


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