Palisades Optimists Aid Salvation Army
For more than 40 years, the Pacific Palisades Optimist Club has participated in Kettle Day, a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.
Annually, members stood in front of CVS, Ralphs, the Post Office and Bank of America and rang bells, urging Pacific Palisades residents to throw their spare change and bills into the kettle.
Last year, Dr. Mike Martini, a charter member of the Palisades 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.”
This year even the Optimists had trouble placing members at various stations in the business district, and instead invited everyone to ask friends for donations before the December 11 meeting.
Chris Wikle, a lieutenant with the Salvation Army, attended the breakfast meeting (at Janes Hall in the Presbyterian Church) to accept a check for $1,480.
“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 on drug and alcohol rehab.
“Some of our work is preventive,” Wikle said, noting that funds are also spent to collect toys for kids in families that can’t afford them.
Club co-president Rich Wilken promised that next year the Optimists will be back at their posts ringing bells, not only to collect donations, but also to raise awareness about the Salvation Army.
The Red Kettle dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee put out a pot and 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.