With help from Pacific Palisades residents, the Optimist Club raised $1,796 for the Salvation Army on December 13.
For more than 40 years, the local Optimists have participated in Kettle Day, a major fundraiser for the Salvation Army.
Optimist members stood in front of Ralphs, the Post Office and Bank of America and rang bells, urging residents to drop their spare change and bills into the kettle.
Some Palisades parents should be proud: at Bank of America, two teens withdrew money from the ATM, came over and put some bills in the kettle.
Later, a little girl, about six years old, prompted her mom to put a dollar in the kettle. The Optimist asked if the girl would like to ring the bell. She did, so sweetly, and then gave the bell ringer a hug.
Dr. Mike Martini, a charter member of the Palisades Optimist Club, noted that “All of the service clubs in the Palisades used to participate, even the Woman’s Club, but we’re the only one doing it now.”
Last year, Chris Wikle, a lieutenant with the Salvation Army, attended one od the Optimist breakfast meetings at the Presbyterian Church.
“We’re grateful for the support of the Optimist Club,” Wikle said. “The funds raised in this area, stay here.”
He explained how the Salvation Army works with housing Veterans, youth who have just come out of foster care, affordable housing for seniors, and drug and alcohol rehab.
“Some of our work is preventive,” Wikle said, “and some funds are spent to collect toys for kids in families that can’t afford them.”
The Red Kettle dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to find a way to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute. In his sailor days in Liverpool, he remembered a large iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passersby tossed in a coin to help the poor.
So the next day, McFee placed a similar pot at the foot of Market Street (WHERE? San Francisco? Los Angeles?) and placed a sign, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had money to feed the needy at Christmas. The idea spread across the nation and today the Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Salvation Army also helps pay utilities, shelters families who have lost their homes and feeds the hungry. To participate in an online kettle, visit: onlineredkettle.com.