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It’s bell ringing season
Salvation Army shatters donation goal at Kettle Kickoff
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Shawna Casey of the Turlock Rotary team collects money during the Kettle Klash at Tuesday’s Salvation Army event (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

Tuesday saw the return of the annual Kettle Kickoff luncheon hosted by the Turlock Salvation Army. The event was held at the Grand Oak Banquet Hall and Event Center in Turlock, being the first full-capacity kickoff since 2019. The highly anticipated return saw generosity be at its highest as the organization’s donation goal was surpassed by more than $10,000.

“It is so great to be at this beautiful venue and to have each and every one of you here,” said Salvation Army Turlock Corp Captain Jeffrey Breazeale. “It’s all of you that make it possible to give back to our town and neighborhood.”

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The Charity Belles, consisting of Ana Machado, Lissette Maunakea, Diane Koken and Melissa Mazuelos, were one of six teams competing in the Kettle Klash at this year’s Kettle Kickoff luncheon (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

The final tally of over $70,600 raised was the combination of ticket sales, event sponsors, at-the-door donations and through money collected as part of the event’s Kettle Klash competition. The Kettle Klash saw six teams try to fill their kettles with as many donations from attendees as possible in only five minutes. Team “We Can Build It,” which was made up of Jerry Powell, Clark Hulbert and Paul Porter, were the top donors this year.

During the lunch period, the crowd of hundreds heard from Abe Rojas, who served as the guest speaker. Rojas served as the director of parks and recreation for the City of Turlock from 1969 to 1993, and he began the program to build the Pedretti Sports Complex. Rojas has also coached football, basketball and baseball at Turlock High School as well as volunteering with the Stanislaus State Athletics Department and the Salvation Army. He spoke about his time living and serving in Turlock and stressed the importance of supporting the Salvation Army.

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Abe Rojas, who has worked and volunteered in Turlock throughout his life, served as the 2022 Kettle Kickoff guest speaker (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

The fun didn’t stop there, though, as attendees were also treated to a surprise visit from retired Major Debi Shrum and the annual performance of “Silver Bells” by Breazeale and Beverly Pritchard. Pritchard has worked for the Salvation Army as a business manager for 20 years and is retiring at the end of this month following a battle with cancer. She received a roaring round of applause before and after her performance.

“We really can’t thank everyone enough for their support, not just today, but throughout the year,” Breazeale said.

Breazeale ended by encouraging everyone to continue to give throughout the holiday season at kettle and bell ringing locations around town. He also urged business owners in attendance to consider registering to be a bell-ringing location.

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Beverley Pritchard was joined by Salvation Army Turlock Corps Capt. Jeff Breazeale for the annual singing of “Silver Bells" (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

On average, the Turlock Salvation Army has about nine kettles set up in front of local businesses around Turlock, Denair and Hilmar. This year, locations will also offer the option of donated through touchless payment company Tip Tap. At select locations, volunteers will have Tip Tap available for individuals to make instant, paperless payments. Additionally, storefronts can also have “counter kettles,” which are small trays that stores can place on their counters.

Those interested can get started in the process by going to, by calling the Turlock Corps. At (209) 667-6091 or by reaching out to Breazeale through email at The organization would then provide a certificate of insurance.