Tag Archives: The Salvation Army

Shopping for the lost angels

Toys for the Lost Angel program. Photo courtesy of 3TV.

I don’t enjoy shopping. But I never felt more like going shopping than one night last December, when I realized how many children who were part of the Arizona’s Family Christmas Angel Program were going to end up with items that were not even close to what they’d requested on their wish lists.

I hadn’t gone shopping for an Angel that year. In fact, I hadn’t done it in a lot of years. Not since my sons were still home to do it with me. They are 26 and 24, so that’s obviously been awhile.

But last year, I found myself in The Salvation Army warehouse on East Washington in Phoenix. My husband does some legal work for 3TV, and he is invited each year to help sort through toys, bags, labels and shelves so that everything is ready when grateful parents, all living below the poverty level, drive up to the warehouse to pick up the only Christmas gifts their children will receive.

Our task that evening was to do the best we could to fulfill the wishes of the Lost Angels — children whose wish lists were taken by supposed do-gooders who apparently found better things to do with their time and never came back with the requested list of toys.

Thankfully, there are patrons of the the lost angels who donate mounds of toys and gifts, never knowing which child will get them or what will become of their generosity. Last year, The Salvation Army received hundreds of basketballs, board games and sets of jewelry and lotion that went to children who at least got something for Christmas.

The deadline for making Lost Angel donations is this Friday, Dec. 9. If you want to help, here are your options:

Bring a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation to Today’s Patio. (If you do, you’ll receive an additional 10 percent off your entire purchase.)

Donate new toys at any Phoenix Fire station.

Join 3TV’s Yetta Gibson and Royal Norman from 7am to 6:30pm Friday at Chandler Fashion Center, near Kona Grill.

Since its inception in 1986, the Christmas Angel program has donated more than one million toys to 500,000 underprivileged children. And each year, 3TV and The Salvation Army make a commitment to ensure that every child represented by a Christmas Angel tag will have a gift. It may not be what they asked for, but it will be something.

So I plan to go shopping. For a Christmas Angel, and for a Lost Angel, too.

Learn more about the Christmas Angel program, which continues through Dec. 23, in the RAK Community blog.

Everybody dance now!

Kendall Glover teaches dance lessons at The Salvation Army day camp in Chandler. Photo by Daniel Friedman.

It was staff multimedia journalist Vicki Balint’s idea, not mine. But I promised to be a good sport.

We were at The Salvation Army day camp in Chandler to interview Kendall Glover, the 11-year-old hometown dance sensation who placed second in the finals of a national competition for the CBS program “Live to Dance.”

My 11-year-old niece, Mandy, was there to help me with the interview. She attends the same school as Kendall, is in the same grade and almost shares the same birthday. (Kendall’s is Aug. 2; Mandy’s is Aug. 3.)

We talked to Kendall about all sorts of things, including the role she will play July 30 in the FOX 10 Dance Day benefit to raise money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Participants will dance most of the day away at Jobing.com Arena, earning the money that was pledged on their behalf as they enjoy entertainment (hometown celebrity and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks will be performing) and the chance to hang out real dancers like Kendall Glover.

Kendall said the great thing about the event is that you don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy it. I am definitely not a dancer and neither is Mandy, though she’s a heck of a good soccer player. But with some urging from Vicki, who was there with her video camera, Mandy and I agreed to give it a shot.

Kendall patiently taught us some moves. We did okay, but not as well as the kids from The Salvation Army Camp. You’ll see them dancing with Kendall after our (blessedly short) appearance.

If we could do it, so can you. Register here to create a team for Dance Day.

Sparks will be flying at dance fundraiser

Jordin Sparks

Phoenix Children’s Hospital broke the news last week that hometown celebrity and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks will be the featured performer at the FOX 10 Dance Day fundraiser on Saturday, July 30.

When I heard the news, I decided it was time to unleash some sparks of my own. I’ve spent some time with another hometown sensation who will be at the event. Kendall Glover is 11 years old (for a few more weeks anyway), she has been performing since she was 4, she came in second in a nationally televised dance contest (“Live to Dance”) and I had the privilege of interviewing her last month — along with my 11-year-old niece Mandy — after she finished teaching a dance class for her volunteer job at The Salvation Army day camp in Chandler.

We had RAK staff photographer Daniel Friedman with us (all photos from here forward are his) and multimedia journalist Vicki Balint, who handled the audio and video.

Kendall gives dance instructions (Mandy and I are watching in the top right corner).

Kendall was fulfilling a volunteer commitment required of her participation in the National Charity League. But it looked like more fun than work as she taught the kids — eight girls, two boys and two additional volunteers — a dance sequence similar to one she performed on Just Dance Kids for Nintendo Wii.

Mandy and I are preparing a story about our interview with Kendall for the magazine’s September performing arts issue. But because we knew the Dance Day event was on the horizon, we also asked Kendall to talk about that.

Listen to our mini-podcast.

Recording our interview with Kendall, and with help from Vicki Balint.

Dance Day takes place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, July 30 at Jobing.com Arena. It’s a brand new event designed to be fun for families and friends to do together. You can create your own team and dance all day (get all the sign-up details here). Need an extra incentive to get involved? Jordin Sparks will hold a “meet and greet” with the event’s top fundraiser.

Kendall Glover.

Don’t want to dance? You can also have fun watching. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 12 and younger. Click here for more information. Proceeds benefit patients at Phoenix Children’s.

Kendall promised us that you don’t have to be a dancer to have a great time at the event. “It doesn’t matter how you dance or how you look, it’s just about what you love to do,” she says.

Tomorrow: Kendall teaches Mandy and me a few moves.

Two non-dancers learn from the pro.