After years spent contributing volunteer time and manpower to the Kalamazoo community, Rep. Brandt Iden of Oshtemo isn’t stopping anytime soon. “The holiday season offers a unique opportunity to reflect and give back to those most in need of help,” Rep. Iden said.
Perhaps the two most recognizable of the many holiday giving programs in the United States are Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Rep. Iden has recently donated his time and efforts to both programs.
You’ve seen them – the friendly faces of men and women ringing Christmas bells outside of your local grocery stores, asking for small change donations to be given to the needy. Rep. Iden volunteered at locations across Kalamazoo County, ringing the famous bell and collecting donations for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. First started in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has been the Salvation Army’s most visible fundraiser. The nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars collected go to assist the 37 million people in poverty in the United States.
Additionally, Rep. Iden donated to one of the leading charities for toy distribution in the United States – the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. On Nov. 20, Rep. Iden delivered an armful of toys to the Marines welcoming the donations. Among the top charities in the nation, Toys for Tots remained on the leaderboard for the Philanthropy 400 in 2013 after delivering more than 16.8 million toys to about 7 million children across the country.
In addition to donating volunteer time and toys, Rep. Iden also coordinated a donation from himself, as well as state representatives and state senators on both sides of the aisle for Kalamazoo Rotary Club’s Bundle Up Kalamazoo Program. The program accepts monetary donations for coats, hats, gloves, boots, and anything else that will keep children warm throughout the cold winter weather. Items donated for children in kindergarten through 12th grade will be given to Communities in Schools, and adult items will be given to Ministry with Community for distribution to all of those in need.
“When we truly commit ourselves to creating a caring environment for everyone in our state, we can see it taking shape before our eyes,” Rep. Iden said. “Volunteering is a great way to get involved and impact our community in a positive way for those who need our help most.”
If there’s one thing we know about Rep. Iden, it’s that he deeply values the well-being of his neighbors and wishes to help in any way that he can. Residents and neighbors can be assured – this won’t be the last time you see Rep. Iden giving back to his community.