Giving TuesdayThis past Giving Tuesday, National Commander Commissioner Kenneth Hodder and Commissioner Jolene Hodder were joined in New York City by Carlos and Alexa PenaVega and Erin and Ben Napier to raise awareness.
In recent years, Thanksgiving has become the precursor to a variety of shopping events. They’re all pretty self-explanatory: there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and, of course, Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday, started in 2012, is a day when Americans are asked to consider donating to charity after doing more shopping than usual over the holiday weekend. Rather than looking towards Christmas and what presents we’re giving to and getting from our loved ones, it’s a time to remember those who are struggling or facing difficulties in the holiday season, or maybe aren’t getting by at all. Giving Tuesday also coincides with The Salvation Army’s nationwide Red Kettle campaign, when our fundraising efforts are perhaps most visible to the public. This timing has provided The Salvation Army with the opportunity to, engage and encourage others to generously support its pledge to do the most good with the funds raised during the holiday.
This past Giving Tuesday, National Commander Commissioner Kenneth Hodder and Commissioner Jolene Hodder were joined in New York City by Carlos and Alexa PenaVega and Erin and Ben Napier to raise awareness. Both couples, who regularly partner with the Army, took to TV studios and social media to let people know about the day and The Salvation Army’s work. Following their TV appearances, they also joined the Hodders for a time of volunteering at some of the corps in NYC.
To kick off the day, Carlos and Alexa went with Commissioner Jolene Hodder to NBC’s “Today,” where they stood by a red kettle in the cold morning air while they spoke with journalist Al Roker. They told Roker that they and their family had been privileged to work alongside The Salvation Army, specifically during the relief efforts in the wake of the Maui wildfires in Lahaina last year. They used the Army’s Angel Tree program to shop for multiple wildfire survivor families and deliver early Christmas gifts to them in person.
After “Today,” they went on to the offices of “US Weekly” to be interviewed. They reminded people to give back during the holidays and spoke about the importance of passing on the spirit of generosity and giving to children. To close out their interview, they played a fun round of the “Not-So Newlywed Game.” Finally, Alexa and Commissioner Hodder went to Bronx Citadel Childcare Center, where Alexa interacted with the children and read to them. She was met with enthusiasm and affection from all thechildren and staff alike.
Erin and Ben started the day by going with Commissioner Kenneth Hodder to “Fox & Friends,” where they discussed their relationship with The Salvation Army. The couple introduced a new holiday–themed candle from their website (scentlibrary.com). The “Season of Hope” candle, created in collaboration with The Salvation Army, is scented like orange and cloves, or the classic Christmastime pomander scent. The label prominently features the Army shield and raises awareness about The Salvation Army’s work. Commissioner Hodder then joined the couple on the live news segment to give tips on bell ringing and inform people why the annual fundraiser is so important, stating that an individual ringing for a couple hours can raise enough in the kettle to feed “hundreds and hundreds.” After their segment on “Fox & Friends,” more than 1,200 Season of Hope candles were sold online in just one hour.
The Napiers then went to the Harlem Temple Corps for a service opportunity. While there, they participated in preparing and serving a meal for hundreds of clients and community members. After they served the meals, they sat and met with many of the clients as well. Afterwards, Erin and Ben went to “The Drew Barrymore Show,” where they spoke with Drew about the Season of Hope candle, interior design, holiday traditions and the importance of giving. They again encouraged the audience to volunteer at the kettles, which was met with applause. Finally, Erin shared her grandmother’s biscuit recipe to close the show.
Giving Tuesday was a wonderful opportunity to spotlight The Salvation Army’s holiday efforts alongside dedicated partners such as the PenaVegas and the Napiers. The Red Kettle campaign may be over for now, but there is always time to give. Donations are accepted year-round at salvationarmyusa.org, where you can also find volunteer opportunities and stories of grace and hope.