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Turlock offers ample options for helping others this holiday season

Turlock offers ample options for helping others this holiday season

Abe Rojas collects money for his Kettle Klash team, The Bucket Brigade, during the 2012 Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff luncheon. This year's fundraising event will be held on Nov. 19.

POSTED November 1, 2013 11:52 p.m.

The holiday season often stirs a sense of both gratefulness and generosity in communities across the country and Turlock is no exception. Year after year Turlock community members have donated time and efforts to provide for those less fortunate, and this year veteran and novel volunteers alike have abundant opportunities to give time and donations to various causes. 

The Salvation Army is hosting its biggest annual event , the "Kettle Kickoff” luncheon, on Nov. 19. The proceeds from the luncheon fortifies the organization until the following June and are reintegrated into the Salvation Army to help run the community center and other services. The “Kettle Kickoff” raises about $38,000 annually, and the past few years the Salvation Army has been endowed with a $50,000 anonymous donation.

“The Kettle Kickoff is like a big pep rally for adults to kick off the bell ringing season,” said Kathy Wells of the Salvation Army.

Following the luncheon, the iconic red kettles are disbursed around the community and can be found in about 13 store fronts in the area until Christmas Eve. The bell ringers are often volunteers, though a few are paid workers. In past years the kettles have raised about $60,000 through the season.

The Salvation Army also helps coordinate the Turlock Together efforts. Turlock Together is a conglomerate of local businesses, churches, nonprofits, and organizations that join together to provide for the less fortunate during the holiday season. The Salvation Army distributes the event's signature large blue barrels to participating schools and businesses for the collection of non-perishable food items and new toys. These collections are stored at the Turlock Fruit Company and then sorted through in December before they are distributed to eligible families. Each family gets two boxes of food and a new toy for each child on Dec. 21.

The Central Valley Association of Realtors has contributed significantly to Turlock Together’s efforts since 1982 through its annual Christmas CanTree fundraiser. The organization’s mission is to overcome hunger in a community-wide effort to help those in need.  Local families benefit from 100 percent of the proceeds, and this year the organization aims to fill 2,000 baskets for local families and seniors in the Turlock, Denair, Deli, Hilmar, Keyes and Stevinson area. Shelly Bell of PMZ, this year’s Christmas CanTree Committee  chair, will be participating for her third year and  noted that everyone consistently digs deep to contribute.

“I really like that everyone pitches in and does what they have to do to help provide for these families,” said Bell.

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