Traditional sales lure Black Friday shoppers

A desire to feed poor people for Christmas started a tradition that continues today as the familiar ting-a-ling greeted shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday bargains.

“We aren’t having any fanfare,” said Capt. Mitham Clement of the Salvation Army, Lihu‘e Corps. “People are just going to go out to their stations and start ringing the bells.”

Norma Cortez was one of those bell ringers, taking up her traditional station in front of the Big Save yesterday in Lihu‘e.

“I started at 9:30 Friday morning and I’ll keep doing this until my mother comes to pick me up around 3:30 or 4,” the longtime volunteer said. “I’ve been doing this for years, now.”

Clement said residents, community groups and other organizations are able to make a difference to those in need by donating their time and energy by manning a red kettle station around the island.

“Your organization can adopt a kettle site,” Clement said. Six individuals working two-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. will manage a kettle for a day.

The Salvation Army is planning for 15 kettle sites around the island and groups can arrange to a certain amount of days to volunteer manning the kettles.

“By ringing the bells at the red kettles, you will not only ‘ring’ in the true spirit of Christmas, but also help many of Kaua‘i’s families in need,” Clement said.

Similarly, kettles were being set up at the Wal-Mart store which was inundated by shoppers seeking out bargains from as early as before the 5 a.m. special opening. Others were being established at the entrance to Long’s Drugstores and at Star Markets.

One of the new features of the Salvation Army’s red kettles is the ability for volunteers to ring the bell from the comfort of their own homes.

By visiting the Hawai‘i Salvation Army’s Web site at www.salvationarmyhawaii.org, individuals can establish their own Online Red Kettle.

Once established, the individual sends e-mails to friends and family containing the link to the Red Kettle page. This gesture allows individuals to become an integral part of the Salvation Army’s fundraising efforts this Christmas.

In addition to the red kettle campaign which runs through Christmas Eve, the Salvation Army also offers other volunteer opportunities including the Angel Tree program where individuals and groups can visit the Angel Tree to fulfill the wishes of Kaua‘i’s needy keiki.

The Holiday Food Drive helps the Salvation Army’s pantry program and helps provide food for the needy families during the holiday season.

Other programs include the Community Care Ministries, the Toys for Tots partnership with the Marine Corps League of Kaua‘i.

Marine Corps League, Kaua‘i Detachment Commandants Norberto Garcia and Frank Kleckner were sitting in the traffic at Wal-Mart, taking the time to announce the annual Toys for Tots program will have its annual distribution Dec. 16.

Volunteers for the Toys for Tots will start manning stations outside Wal-Mart and other locations starting next weekend, Kleckner said.

Additionally, John Burns of the Marine Corps League said there are other avenues of helping as the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Nursery is currently conducting a penny drive to help with the Toys for Tots campaign.

On Dec. 13, people on Kaua‘i can enjoy Saturday Night Snow at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center in partnership with the Salvation Army, states a release from Kukui Grove.

The event is an evening of magical winter snow, keiki entertainment and family fun from Dolly Kanekuni’s Vocal Studio which performs on Dec. 13.

Patrons are encouraged to donate a canned good or monetary contribution and enjoy a sweet hot chocolate bar with all the trimmings every Saturday through Christmas from 7 to 8 p.m.

Clement said these are just some of the programs that help the thousands of families in need who turn to the Salvation Army for help in time of need.

This tradition started in 1891 when Capt. Joseph McFee wanted to provide free Christmas dinner for the poor people in San Francisco.

McFee’s dilemma was to find a way to pay for the food to feed the hundreds of hungry people.

He recollected his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England where a large pot on Stage Landing had donations tossed in by generous passers-by.

This triggered him to set up a large pot at the Oakland Ferry landing after getting permission from officials. The pot quickly filled with donations which made it possible for McFee to raise enough money to brighten the holidays of hundreds of San Francisco’s needy.

The tradition continues today and has spread around the world, the red kettles serving as a gentle holiday reminder that sharing is caring.

For more information on volunteering, or adopting a kettle, call Clement at 245-2571. The Hanapepe and Koloa Salvation Army can be reached at 335-5441.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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