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Topeka Salvation Army honors volunteers, reveals Red Kettle shortfall

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 2:49 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Salvation Army is rallying the community to join their mission of “doing the most good.”

The Topeka branch held its annual Lifeline Luncheon Tuesday at their Topeka Citadel on SE 6th.

They announced last year’s Red Kettle campaign brought in $72,946.47. The amount is 72 percent short of their goal of $260,000.

Development director Shelley Robertson said one challenge during this past campaign was getting bell ringers to staff the kettles. She said they were even challenged recruiting paid bell ringers.

“I think Topeka people are very generous. I think it’s the amount of people manning the kettles and, unfortunately, when they’re not manned a lot of people just don’t give,” she said.

One goal of the luncheon was to raise money to make up the difference. The Red Kettle campaign provides year-round support for the Salvation Army’s food, utility and rent assistance, community outreach, and youth programs. Robertson cited their boxing academy - led by volunteer and state Rep. John Alcala and Topeka Police Sgt. William Lister - which attracts 80 kids a night.

“Those kids - he’s got two kids off ADHD meds, some of them have lost weight,” Robertson said. “It’s a testament to how focused it makes them become and how they just need some guidance.”

Tuesday’s luncheon also recognized long-time volunteer James Helton with the William Booth Award, while fellow volunteer Chris Wagoner received the Others Award.

Retired Shawnee Co. judge Joseph Johnson delivered a key note speech on the importance of unity, while 13′s Melissa Brunner emceed the event.

People wishing to support the Topeka Salvation Army may donate online through their web site, or bring or mail donations to their citadel, 1320 SE 6th St., Topeka, KS 66607.

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