Salvation Army start off first official fundraiser with luncheon

By WEEK Producer

May 9, 2013 Updated May 9, 2013 at 10:37 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Hundreds of Heart of Illinois leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate the work and mission of The Salvation Army.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood spoke at the Annual Community Luncheon.

He and his wife have partnered with the Salvation Army for decades.

LaHood praised those who support the Army because of the service they provide to people they may never meet.

Several volunteers were recognized for their dedication, including long-time Advisory Board member and former Police Superintendent Allen Andrews.

"Peoria has never failed the salvation Army. We haven't always hit our target exactly, but the Army has been a part of Peoria for a long, long time. And has that kind of image of being a true service group," said Former Peoria Police Superintendent Allen Andrews.

This year organizers funded the event with underwriters and sponsors, making it the first official fundraiser of 2013.

Development Director, Rich Drager said with an increase in the luncheon attendance he is optimistic as the organization prepares to expand their fundraising activities year round.

"We just have to really think outside of the box and find other ways to generate some income to tell our story. Because we think it is a great story to tell," said Rich Drager of the Salvation Army.

"Peoria has never failed the salvation Army. We haven't always hit our target exactly, but the Army has been a part of Peoria for a long, long time. And has that kind of image of being a true service group," said Salvation Army Advisory Board member, Allen Andrews.

The Salvation Army is planning on introducing new events this summer to help with fundraising efforts.

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