Kiwanis Club organizes another top-producing Red Kettle Drive.
Even with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, the Longboat Key Kiwanis Club still managed to outdo last year's donations at the annual Red Kettle Drive at the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
The club learned on Friday a total of $24,094.02 had been donated there, up from the 2018 campaign, which raised $19,508.47. In terms of Red Kettle donations, it was the largest single donation site, Salvation Army Director of Development Glenda Leonard wrote in an email to the club. St. Armands Lutheran Church was credited with the largest site donation by $4,000, but that included a $15,000 check mailed before the holiday-season drive kicked off.
"Longboat Key was by far the top-producing location,'' she wrote.
The campaign, volunteers for which were recruited and organized by Kiwanis Club member Ed Krepela, lasted 26 days. In 2018, the campaign lasted 32 days.
Pushing the totals higher in recent years has been a match made by an anonymous donor of each $20 bill dropped into the familiar red kettles areawide.
Though numbers of $20 bills in each kettle weren't provided, Leonard said 1,092 $20 bills were donated in 2017, the last year before the matching donations. In 2018, that areawide number climbed to 1,803. In 2019, the number rose again to 1,898.
Krepela organized a grid of volunteers to occupy seven shifts a day in front of the Publix Supermarket in the shopping plaza from the morning of Nov. 29 through the afternoon of Dec. 24. Kiwanis Club members, town officials, other residents and volunteers served 182 shifts lasting 75 minutes each.
In 2017, the club raised $15,291.63 and in 2016, it raised $14,037.43. Both times, the club was the top location. 2019's total was the highest ever turned in by the Longboat campaign.
"You are tops in our books and we cannot thank you enough for the tremendous impact you have in helping those in need," Leonard wrote.