Farmington Hills resident recognized for work with Salvation Army

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published February 12, 2021

 Farmington Hills resident Colleen Burke has donated and spent time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army over the last few years. The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit exceeded its $8 million fundraising goal this year.

Farmington Hills resident Colleen Burke has donated and spent time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army over the last few years. The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit exceeded its $8 million fundraising goal this year.

Photo provided by Colleen Burke

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Longtime Salvation Army supporter Colleen Burke, a 32-year-old resident of Farmington Hills, was announced as a winner of the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit’s “Watch for Good” volunteer initiative.

As a member of the Novi Rotary Club for the last two and a half years, Burke has been in charge coordinating volunteer bell ringers within the organization. Outside of her work with the Rotary, she and her husband have supported the Salvation Army through donations.

The volunteers from the Rotary Club ring at the same spot each year, which is outside the Macy’s at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. Due to having a baby last year, Burke wasn’t able to ring outdoors this Christmas, but she still wanted to make an impact by coordinating volunteers and making sure people were able to donate.

Burke’s efforts were recognized during a Red Kettle wrap-up party Jan. 27. As a thank you, she was able to choose between an Apple or an Android smartwatch. The watch was donated by an anonymous Salvation Army supporter.

For Burke, however, the recognition wasn’t what mattered. During the trying times of COVID-19, being able to give back to the community during the holiday was her goal.

“It’s one thing to be able to personally donate money or adopt a family or donate goods to the Salvation Army, but it’s an entirely different thing to donate your time or volunteer your time,” Burke said. “To be able to do it in a well-rounded fashion and help out in multiple ways is definitely a really exciting thing, especially this year.”

Along with Burke, many other volunteers across Metro Detroit helped the Salvation Army exceed its $8 million goal to help those in need throughout Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

According to a press release, the money will be used for food, shelter and utility assistance; addressing the needs of those facing substance abuse; keeping children safe and warm with hats, coats and gloves; providing relief for emergency disaster victims; and funding outdoor educational opportunities for at-risk youth, anti-human trafficking initiatives and a free legal aid clinic.

With COVID-19 still around, the need for these resources was heightened compared to previous years. With families losing income and other opportunities, the Salvation Army knew it needed to provide extra resources this year.

“It is a lot of work. Myself and my staff had to go out and ring as well, because we had to raise these funds so we could help people during these uncertain times,” Lt. Anil Kumar of the Salvation Army Farmington Hills Corps said. “With a lot of people in much needed situations, where the needs have increased, we all had to go out. It’s an all-in situation, and it’s well paid off.”

Burke noted that it’s important to give back to the community, and she plans to continue working with the Salvation Army in the future.

For more information on the Salvation Army, visit www.salmich.org.

“It’s just knowing how many people really do need the help and just doing your part,” Burke said. “It’s a few hours of your time to give and go stand out in the cold, but hopefully, know that you’re making a difference by helping to raise money.”

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