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Women of Dedication

As the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary celebrates 50 years of giving back, president Nayda Locke talks about the tradition.

By Erin Chambers Smith

What is the history behind the Women of Dedication?

In 1931, a dedicated group of women formed a guild to support The Salvation Army Door of Hope Girls’ Home. The group grew with the changing needs of our community to become today’s Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, supporting homeless mothers with children, homeless men transitioning into stability, families, children, seniors and graduates of the Salvation Army’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

What is the significance of this year’s anniversary fundraiser?

The Women of Dedication luncheon on April 7, 2015 will honor 15 of San Diego’s leading volunteers and philanthropists. The event also celebrates 400 past honorees, inspires others to give to our community, and raises money for local Salvation Army programs. The event has become iconic in San Diego’s philanthropic community, attended by more than 1,000 people.

You will honor 15 women in San Diego County who have given their “time, talent and treasures” to those who are less fortunate. What else can you tell us about these women?

The Women of Dedication honorees are nominated and chosen by a committee of past honorees. Those selected have served our community in a dazzling array of volunteer efforts in community, cultural, educational, social service and religious organizations.

“Millennials want to roll their sleeves up and demand accountability for where their dollars go.”

What are some other fundraising traditions upheld by the group?

The Women’s Auxiliary supports the Angel Giving Trees you’ll see in shopping centers and local businesses with the goal of bringing in 46,200 toys this year. Artistry of Tables and Fashions is a fundraiser to support The Salvation Army’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation program and is held each fall. A major focus of the auxiliary is supporting homeless mothers with children at The Salvation Army Door of Hope with celebrations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter, summer barbeques and more. They also help the men in The Salvation Army’s STEPS program, men who are transitioning from homelessness or prison.

How have you seen philanthropy change over the years, both at the Salvation Army and across the sector?

With a dynamic Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and web presence, The Salvation Army is reaching the Millennials as well as other tech savvy individuals who want to roll their sleeves up and help and who demand accountability for where their donor dollars go.

The Christmas Program is iconic. What’s it like to contribute to such a well known and loved tradition?

Ringing a silver bell beside that iconic Salvation Army Red Kettle is an experience auxiliary members describe as eye-opening as well as gratifying. Many parents use the kettle as an opportunity to teach their children the joy of giving and it’s fun to watch the little ones drop a carefully folded dollar or even a handful of pennies into the slot. The entire Christmas outreach offers community members the opportunity to give: hosting a toy or food drive, sorting toys and helping to distribute food baskets and toys to needy families, serving Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner at Golden Hall or at one of the seven community centers. It requires an epic work force of dedicated volunteers, and the generosity of our whole community.

Women of Dedication

Auxiliary members at the Women of Dedication Luncheon 2013

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