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Leonard’s Express, Salvation Army of Canandaigua team up for holiday campaign

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  • Staff Report 

Leonard’s Express and The Salvation Army of Canandaigua are working together for good this holiday season. Thanks to Farmington-based Leonard’s Express – a leading transportation services provider with local warehousing facilities – the Canandaigua Corps was able to receive three tractor trailer loads of donations from an anonymous donor that they would not otherwise have been able to accept. Typically, donations are stored in small trailers and rented storage units. Due to the sheer size of this donation, the Canandaigua Corps needed a much larger facility, which Leonard’s provided.

“Leonard’s Express was so generous to allow us to use their loading dock and warehouse,” said Major Pam Rhodes, Salvation Army Canandaigua Corps Commanding Officer. “With three tractor trailer loads of merchandise, there’s no way we could have handled that, which would have meant fewer donations to the people in our community that need the help. We received an abundance of personal protective equipment (PPE), toiletries, paper products, hand soap, sanitizer, and other items not covered by food stamps that families need.”

The Salvation Army of Canandaigua will launch this year’s Red Kettle Campaign at a kickoff event at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 10th at Leonard’s Express, 6070 Collett Road in Farmington. Leonard’s Express staff, Salvation Army Advisory Board and congregation members, and local media are invited.

Leonard’s Express is hosting the Red Kettle kickoff event for the first time as an honorary corporate sponsor. “Leonard’s Express has donated to families in need for decades,” said Rhodes. “With their sponsorship and the support of our local community, we hope to generate $100,000 this year.”

“My parents always gave to The Salvation Army,” said Kyle Johnson, Chief Financial Officer of Leonard’s Express, whose parents founded Leonard’s in 2001 and K.J. Transportation in 1973. “My siblings and I are proud to pass this tradition down to the next generation so they can experience the joy of giving. Our employees want to take part in it too. It’s deeply engrained in our culture. It’s who we are as a family and as a company.”

Later this month, Leonard’s Express will kick off K.J.’s Coats – a winter clothing drive for employees to donate coats, hats and gloves – to support the community and honor the company’s co-founder, Kent Johnson, who passed away earlier this year. Leonard’s Express terminals in Idaho, North Carolina, Delaware and Wisconsin will also be hosting coat drives to support The Salvation Army and other local charities.

The Salvation Army expects the need for services this year to be at an all-time high. To address this need, the Empire Division has a new “text to give” number and a QR code that makes it easier for people to donate to a virtual kettle and purchase toys for children.

A long-standing symbol of the holiday spirit, the Red Kettle campaign marks a time when many groups and individuals donate time and money to help The Salvation Army serve the community. “We service an average of 45 families per week. We offer a food pantry, clothing vouchers, assistance with rent, utilities, car repairs, medical bills, and a host of other services,” said Rhodes.

The Salvation Army provides services to men, women, and children by providing meals, shelter, and other valuable necessities throughout the course of the year. Last year, 26,000 bags of groceries and over 30,000 other services were provided to those in need in the upstate New York towns of Canandaigua, Farmington, Shortsville and Manchester. The Canandaigua Corps’ Red Kettle campaign brought in $98,000 last year. Canandaigua Corps also gave out 2,108 toys, 725 articles of clothing, and provided 349 food boxes. This year The Salvation Army of Canandaigua expects to serve at least 400 families.

To donate to this year’s Red Kettle campaign, please visit The Salvation Army of Canandaigua website or text CNDkettle to 51555.