Starlighter Luncheon Ensures Hope Marches On for Neighbors in Need
With the Starlighter luncheon, The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division kicked off its Christmas fundraising season with beautiful music, inspiring words, and overflowing generosity, all in an effort to ensure Hope Marches On for those in need across the greater Chicagoland area.
Held at Navy Pier on November 10, the event was headlined by Amy Eshleman, wife of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a dedicated community servant in her own right. She shared about watching her parents, now retired, take up their annual role as volunteer Red Kettle bell ringers with The Salvation Army, as well as her own volunteer work packing food boxes at Chicago’s Temple Corps Community Center. Both their volunteer work and her own have had a positive impact on her, she said.
“As the pandemic continues to reveal challenges and inequities in our city, I’ve tried to spend as much time as I can listening and learning more about the critical needs of our city and its residents,” Ms. Eshleman said. “And there has been no greater place for me to spend time than with the incredible team at the Temple Corps center on Ogden Avenue.” She concluded her comments with a reminder that, despite the challenges, something good and hopeful happens in our city every day, and with encouragement to be part of that hope by supporting the Army.
Soprano Jacqueline Piccolino, of the Lyric Opera, wowed attendees with a few well-known selections, including “Silver Bells,” a song she explained was inspired in part by Red Kettle bell ringers. Emcee Natalie Bomke, an anchor for Chicago’s Fox32 news station, told those gathered about the Salvation Army stories she has covered that have impacted her most. And Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson gave special thanks to the City of Chicago first responders in the audience.
Throughout the program, attendees heard about the ongoing needs of those in our communities still reeling from the financial impacts of the pandemic, as well as the Army’s many programs to meet those needs – including food pantries and rent and utility assistance. Through a paddle raise, holiday food box sponsorships, and other special gifts, the luncheon raised more than $450,000 to keep Hope Marching On for our neighbors in need.