Sen. Witkos Joins Salvation Army & Republican Legislators to Support Local Communities

March 4, 2015

$130,000 an hour… Not bad work if you can get it!

Connecticut Republicans, Walmart, and The Salvation Army raise funds to help their local communities! – Article as it appeared on the Salvation Army Website

HARTFORD – Okay. Maybe it was a little more than an hour; maybe it wasn’t quite $130,000; maybe the weather wasn’t great either, as it was a little cool at times. Regardless, the 2014 Republican Bell Ringers and Walmart teamed up with The Salvation Army to help raise $130,000 in an hour last year!

Republican legislators stood outside their local Walmart stores with Salvation Army Officers, ringing bells during this past Christmas holiday season. As shoppers entered and exited participating locations and passed those Red Kettle stands, many were surprised to see their local State Representative or Senator standing there, ringing the bell to help raise funds that would go on to be matched by Walmart for The Salvation Army and for the people they serve in the community.

The Walmart/Republican Red Kettle “match program” began in 2009, with Walmart, the Republicans, and The Salvation Army. Starting funds were minimal that first year, so small that no one seems to have recorded the exact amount. The only memory seems to be the State Representative that showed up to ring the bell, only to not have the rule-abiding kettle worker turn over his assigned spot to a “stranger.” After a few quick phone calls to Salvation Army Headquarters and the State Legislative Office Building, this misunderstanding was resolved.

Today, communications have improved considerably and so has the dollar amount risen. This year alone, $64,869.96 was collected, and a very generous matching donation from Walmart of $65,000.00 brought the bottom line to a total of $129,869.96. The crew from Southington: Senator Joe Markley, Representative Rob Sampson, and Southington’s Community Service Director Janet Mellon, brought in $43,420.26 in just their allotted time! Headquarters is beginning to wonder if they are practicing somewhere over the summer in preparation!

The Salvation Army wishes to thank Senators Kevin Kelly, Joe Markley, Henri Martin, Mike McLachlan, and Kevin Witkos. We also thank Representatives Whit Betts, Devin Carney, Christie Carpino, Dan Carter, Jay Case, Jan Giegler, Themis Klarides, Dave Labriola, Tim Legeyt, Jason Perillo, Rosa Rebimbas, Henri Martin, Ben McGorty, Cara Pavalock, and Rob Sampson.

Special thanks to Walmart for their generosity and to Christopher Buchanan, Director Public Affairs & Government Relations, from Walmart for all his help. The Salvation Army also wishes to thank Michael Rell, Director of Outreach for the House Republican Caucus and the time he spent organizing the bell ringers to make it such a success.

Walmart also contributed greatly to the success of The Salvation Army’s 2014 National Red Kettle Campaign, which raised $144.7 million dollars. Red Kettles outside of Walmart and Sam’s Club across the U.S. collected $35.9 million and $4.6 million, respectively, which contributed to approximately 28% of the $144.7 million total. Additionally, from November 28 through December 14, thousands of Walmart stores hosted the third annual Fill the Truck event, collecting more than 93,000 toys and 5,700 coats for children. Walmart customers also made an online donation of $12,000, which will be distributed to individuals and families in need in the form of $25 gift cards. Thank you Walmart!