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Another View: Auburn Salvation Army’s present in the community

Another View
By: E. Ken Tokutomi, chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board of Auburn
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As Chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board, I would like to thank the community, its citizens and the business and the faith basis communities for helping The Salvation Army of Auburn accomplish its mission of helping the needy, homeless and less fortunate survive in these tough economic times. We live in a great sharing and giving community and each year citizens step to the plate and provide thousands of hours of volunteer time and or money to our Corps and empower us to invest in our community. I would like to personally thank all of you. Each November for the past 19 years, The Salvation Army attracts a large compliment of volunteers that once again cook and serve meals at our annual Community Thanksgiving Day dinner. These volunteers give freely of their time every year because of the fellowship and sense of doing something good for the community. Through this event we renew each year the partnerships with businesses, community groups and citizens of the foothills. Again the Gold County Fair Board allowed us to use their facilities free of charge to put on this dinner. Together we provide a first class meal for the needy as well as the community at large and to all who just want to spend the holidays with others and not worry about the stress and effort of putting on a dinner at home. The Thanksgiving Day dinner provided “in-home” deliveries, which fed over 350 meals to shut-ins and elderly who are unable to attend our dinner, to first responders and to businesses which were open during Thanksgiving Day. Children volunteer making hand colored placemats for the more than 1,100 people. It is certainly heartwarming to watch as parents instill the volunteer spirit in their children. The Salvation Army of Auburn continues to serve the community with our emergency canteen. Last year we were on location to service first responders and those evacuated from their homes during the tanker fire in Lincoln. This canteen is designated for Placer County but its disaster relief team members and the canteen can be used for state or national disasters. In Placer County the canteen is in Auburn and can be on location to provide services in just a few hours. Our Corps provided over 95,000 meals from our food closet to enable families to try to make ends meet and still feed their families when the money runs out. We provided fresh vegetables which were grown in the community and donated to our Share the Bounty program. We especially want to thank Virgil Traynor and his group of Rotarians for taking over an acre of land and planting and harvesting over 22,000 pounds of vegetables to donate to our food closet and others closets in the foothills. We would also like to thank the growers at Auburn’s farmers market for donating surplus food each Saturday as volunteers personally pick up and deliver this bounty to the Auburn Corps. We provided housing assistance for over 10,000 individuals and over 44,0000 snacks for the Auburn Boys and Girls Club during their after school program. We assisted other food closets in providing the food that served over 24,000 people in the foothills. Thanks to all those who chose to volunteer for our Christmas Kettle program as we collected over $75,000 from the community and had hundreds of hours of volunteer service. Many of the local service clubs such as the Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotaries supplied manpower to help collect funds. We also got tremendous support from the faith based community as they always seem to step to the plate to help us. We want to thank Raley’s Food for Families program for targeting their local store food donation to our Corps thus enabling us to purchase food and empowering us to provide many families in the various foothill locations with food baskets during our Christmas giving program. We serviced over 350 families which included over 1,000 children. The help for the poor is currently in the news, and Auburn does have a safety net, but it is being stretched to the limit. We appreciate the dollars, volunteer hours and the investment each and every one of you chooses to do for our community. This is what makes Auburn a great community. E. Ken Tokutomi is the chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board of Auburn.