While Salvation Army Advisory Board member Kristin Bettencourt’s birthday is Friday, she isn’t expecting any presents — at least for herself.
Instead, Bettencourt will be in the parking lot of Domino’s Pizza on Geer Road with several other volunteers and Kat Country 103 to collect donations to help fund some much needed renovations to the Salvation Army’s gym. The radio station will be broadcasting live while volunteers equipped with red kettles and bells will be ready to collect any and all contributions.
“I agreed to do this on my birthday so instead of my friends buying me a drink or present or coffee, I hope they donate to the red kettle instead,” said Bettencourt. “The weather may be bad, but I hope people come down there Friday afternoon to see us and say hi.”
Presented by Kat Country 103 and Valley First Credit Union, 10 Deeds in 10 Days aims to help raise awareness and funds for 10 different charities or projects from 10 different cities throughout the Central Valley. The Salvation Army was selected as the charity of choice for Turlock.
“We were thrilled. It’s an honor,” said Bettencourt. “The Salvation Army is always looking for a way to raise funds for the gym, but other expenses were always coming up so the gym keeps being put on the back burner. For example, last summer we were working on something and then the air conditioning went down, so we obviously had to be fixed that first.”
Money raised from Friday’s event will hopefully help replace the soundproofing in the gym, as well as repaint the floor for the basketball courts.
“We’re not expecting to get all the money, but we’re hoping to get a few thousand just to give us a jump start,” said Bettencourt. “If we can get to a quarter of where we need to be, that would be amazing.”
Bettencourt said that the Salvation Army decided to utilize this opportunity to raise money for the gym since it is something that is widely used by the youth of Turlock in after-school programs, adult evening basketball and volleyball games, senior activities, food distribution, Zumba classes, Promotoras, and Home League. The gym is also the go-to venue for different special events, including an annual wrestling fundraiser, Women’s Auxiliary Tea, Teen Challenge Spaghetti Dinner, NJROTC Military Ball, Can Tree Food Drive, and Christmas Dinner for over 700 people.
“People think the Salvation Army is something just for the homeless population and serving meals, but really there are youth in that building every single day,” said Bettencourt. “For a lot of kids, especially on the Westside, this is only place they can go. They spend Halloween, holidays, even the whole summer there. I just want to bring attention to all the youth services out there being offered.
“The place is buzzing all the time with youth, children and young adults,” added Bettencourt.
Kat Country 103’s 10 Deeds in 10 Days event for the Salvation Army will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of Domino’s Pizza on 1571 Geer Rd.