The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary hosted its annual Festival of Tables fundraiser benefiting the work of the Salvation Army in Pine Bluff at First United Methodist Church Friday.
Bettie Mildred Pierce, the first president of the auxiliary, has been a supporter of the Salvation Army’s charitable endeavors for a number of years.
“I feel that the Salvation Army is one of the few organizations that tries to do God’s work,” Pierce said. “I’ve seen God’s light shine with them. I’ve seen them do a lot of really good things. The leaders don’t get paid as much as other charities pay their leaders, but they work very hard.”
Salvation Army Capt. Joanna Robinson, who heads up the organization in Pine Bluff with her husband, Capt. David Robinson, oversaw the festival preparations.
“The women’s auxiliary runs like a clock,” Joanna Robinson said. “Everyone knows their job and then does it. This is something that the community looks forward to every year and provides the Salvation Army with much-needed funds. Last year we were able to purchase new playground equipment for the shelter and sent 40 kids to summer camp. We have sold at least 400 tickets at $10 a piece and are extremely happy with the response.”
David Robinson appeared happy to see the large crowd of people filing into the gymnasium at the church.
“It’s an awesome event and it is so good to see everybody come out to support the work of the Salvation Army,” he said. “Every year it seems to grow. The women’s auxiliary does an excellent job.”
The Rev. David Fleming, senior pastor of First United Methodist, said that the church had been donating space for the event for many years.
“We are partners in ministry with the Salvation Army,” Fleming said. “Travis Creed, who coordinates the bell ringing campaign, is a member here and our youth group helps with the groceries and gifts that they provide to needy families in December. This event is really a highlight of our season here at the church. We are pleased to be able to offer them the space so that they don’t have to spend money on space somewhere else.”
“The key to building community is partnership,” Fleming said. “You use the same materials to build bridges or walls and with our partnership with the Salvation Army we choose to build bridges.”
The Jenkins Choir sang a series of Christmas favorites that included Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Silver Bells, Walking in a Winter Wonderland and a rendition of Joy to the World with a solo from Charmelle Parker that earned a vigorous round of applause from the audience.