Charity delivers high-tech message

Salvation Army enlists Internet to invite teens to concert and contribute to the group.

December 18, 2010|By Nicole Charky
(Cheryl A. Guerrero )

The famous Salvation Army Red Kettle is synonymous with bell-ringing volunteers outside grocery stores, but now the campaign has a little more rock 'n' roll.

Rock the Red Kettle concert was broadcast live online as young performers Emily Osment from Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," singer Ashlyne Huff, New Hollow, One Call, Savvy and Stevie Brock met a crowd of young fans Wednesday night at the Americana at Brand.

This was the first benefit show to raise awareness through the Salvation Army's text-to-give program, which allows donors to text the word "GIVE" to 85944 and make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army of Southern California. This is the first time the organization employed live-streaming online and through texting.

The organization serves 30 million people each year," said Salvation Army Major George Hood.

"There are still 14 million people unemployed, and that means there are a lot of families that are going to be impacted by that economy, children who won't have Christmas unless you give," Hood said. "The Salvation Army raises enough money to make sure that we're able to take care of those kinds of families."


The Salvation Army works with a variety of media and technological approaches. In 2005, the virtual Red Kettle program began inviting donors to sponsor their own red kettle, Hood said.

"I have experimented with a lot of things over the years and tried to be on the cutting edge, particularly with technology," Hood said. "We have never staged a rock concert at any time."

The 140-year-old organization wants to involve kids and teens that will volunteer and donate one day, he added.

"It's an innovative way to connect with emerging generations," Hood said. "They see us, they know we exist, but when you ask them what we do, they can't answer that question. In future years, they will be those loyal donors that we need to sustain our work."

Bell ringers with red kettles passed through the Americana to raise additional awareness by accepting donations for toys, food boxes and holiday meals before and while the bands performed onstage.

One Call, the electronic-infused, dance-pop foursome, performed for the first time on the West Coast. Band members Chris Moy, Anthony "AG" Gamlieli, Jose Bordonada and Justin Thorne are based in Florida.

Their devoted fans found out about the event through Facebook and Twitter.

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