West Flint Optimist Newsletter – 12/7/17

In keeping with the holiday context, Captain Caleb Senn and Joy Martinbianco came to talk about their work  with the Salvation Army, now in its 125th year. November 1 to January 1 is when they raise most of their funds for their various charitable activities, and this has become more complicated in the past several years by limitations on Red Kettle Bell-Ringing and economic setbacks in the region that reduce the sites where such fund-raising might take place. (Meijer and Target preclude this type of fund-raising, and Kroger, which does allow it, has closed several stores in recent years, for example.) The money from this activity is supplied to crisis locations to support “First Responders” and provide immediate support for persons in emergencies, and the hiring of unemployed to serve as “ringers” multiplies the impact of the activity. Other programs are supported through different ventures – e.g., the Salvation Army Thrift Stores are the source of money for the Adult Rehab Program, a 6-12 month residential program for 77 male residents who learn life and work skills as well as managing sobriety. “Pathway of Hope” is another program to help people move from crisis to self-sufficiency, “Picnics in the Park” is a summer youth- and family-oriented activity program, a “Homeless Prevention” effort is also an important element (especially as cold weather hits). The $800,000 that the Salvation Army seeks to raise helps to provide new clothing and toys for parents to pick out for their children, but this may be tougher to meet this year because the highest volume fund-raising day is usually Christmas Eve, but this will not be happening this year due to the fact that Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, and the Salvation Army will not have their kettles out on Sundays. A convienient “text to give number” (91999) may be used to help offset this difficulty, along with commitments by Walmart and Kroger to match up to $10,000 in donations.

After Joe Bushey led in the Pledge and Greg Hilliker said grace on cues by President Crys Reed, John Farah was so eager to get on with the fines that he “jumped the gun” in proposing a fine and would up paying one himself. Bill Hentgen proposed a fine against “Holiday Walk” absentees, guest Joy Martinbianco tried to fine herself, and Ken Cullen passed a fine against President Crys for “looking bored”. All the fines produced a good-sized “50/50” pot that Steve Schlott won and donated to our guests’ “red kettle”. Bill Reeves brought a guest this morning – “Q.B.” Pitman – and our own Kim Banat came in at the end of the meeting to contribute support to the Club and bring the attendance up to 23. Among items discussed:

Board Meeting next Thursday (in light of “The World’s Greatest Office Party” tonight at 6:00 at GateWay Center)

MSD Santa & Pancake Breakfast next week at 8:30 a.m. at Valley Breakfast & Bistro, following our normal meeting time.

Phil Holmblade, Steve Schlott, and Jeff Dennings worked the “backpack program” at Swartz Creek Child Development Center last Wednesday (every other week project for anyone interested in volunteering and passing a background screen).

The “Dragons” (JOOI) Club operated a refreshment distribution at the weekend Santa Run and enjoyed it so much that they have already signed up as volunteers for next year’s event!

Until next time, “Promise Yourself…”