If you happened by the Wal-Mart on Saturday, Dec. 8 on Temecula Parkway, chances are you noticed some familiar faces at the Salvation Army’s red kettle.
Temecula answered the call of Lake Elsinore’s Mayor Brian Tisdale to stuff the bucket for Southwest Riverside’s Salvation Army.
The bell ringing continued throughout the afternoon with Temecula’s kettle delivered at 6 p.m. to Murrieta for an offiicial count.
Mayor Tisdale, who first suggested the challenge for the City of Lake Elsinore in 2011, opened up the challenge to all surrounding cities in September of 2012.
Temecula and Murrieta answered the call.
“Most of us elected officials have a broad network of people to tie into, and we can use that for the greater good,” Tisdale said in a telephone interview. “If we can raise over $1,000 in one city, what can we do in three?”
Mayor Chuck Washington agreed with Tisdale on the spirit of the event, as well as the idea of stuffing the kettle in general.
“The Salvation Army is iconic to Christmas and everyone recognizes the bell ringers. We’re drawing in donors to raise funds on behalf of this wonderful organization that does so much on behalf of Southwest Riverside. It’s a pleasure for the city of Temecula to take part,” Temecula Mayor Chuck Washington said.
Frosty and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer were on hand to greet the children throughout the day, with Mayor Chuck Washington in his animated Santa hat taking the morning shift with the help of carolers from Van Avery Prep.
Later in the afternoon, Maryann Edwards posed for pictures and sang Christmas carols to raise money toward Southwest Riverside’s Salvation Army.
Kids and parents hovered around the Wal-Mart entrance for a chance to meet Santa’s red-nosed reindeer and his buddy Frosty for photo opportunities.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army truck was open for business, accepting toy donations for area families in need.
“Councilmember Edwards has a beautiful voice, and is welcoming all who want to come and sing with her and contribute to a good cause,” Washington said.
“The count will be conducted in Murrieta, led by Maj. Darren Trimmer of the Salvation Army, Murrieta. Trimmer will announce the winner early next week,” said Betsy Lowrey, who assisted in setting up the red kettle event in Temecula.
“No matter what, whether we win or lose, the fact that these three cities are working together shows that we can do great things for Southwest Riverside County,” Tisdale said.
Following the competition, Mayor Tisdale will make an appearance at the “winning” city council meeting.
“By participating in this event, we are all winners,” Tisdale said.
For more information on Salvation Army, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.