ORLANDO, Fla. - Thirty-six rotations in 12 hours. It was a big day Tuesday for the Salvation Army Orlando's red kettle campaign, as its captain took flight.
Capt. Ken Chapman hitched a ride on the ICON Orlando 360, all to help raise funds for those in need.
“When you think about the people who need it the most, that’s why we do it. Our kettles are down and we need this money through the whole year," Chapman said.
This isn’t the first time Chapman has gone above his normal duties to help raise money for the organization.
He’s camped out on a three-story billboard for 36 hours in the cold, he's walked 66 miles in 66 hours to raise $66,000 and he set a Guinness World Record for the most hours ringing a bell.
Chapman said there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing his efforts make a difference in his community.
“I get to see the end result of when we are actually clothing someone, we’re actually feeding someone, we’re actually having a pillow for them to lay their head on and it’s very full filling," Chapman said. "When I put my head down at night, I can say I have given all I had to help people who can’t help themselves."
On Tuesday, Chapman boarded a capsule of the 400-foot-tall wheel and rode for 12 straight hours in hopes of raising $100,000 for the red kettle campaign.
The initiative was a partnership with ICON ORLANDO 360.
“We’re the tallest ride and attraction in Florida and we got a big heart, right? Big wheel, big heart and we decided to donate a dollar to every ticket that we sell today,” CEO of ICON Orlando 360 Chris Jaskiewicz said.
“The biggest challenge is affordable housing which is the root cause of chronic homelessness so we’re upping—what we’re doing, the Salvation Army is trying to make that better, trying to identify and to secure affordable housing for people who need it desperately, “ Chapman said.
Throughout the day donors called into the Salvation Army call center or dropped their donations inside the red kettle.
“Every time I see them I always try to give something if I only have a dollar, whatever I have on me, I try to give because hopefully it can bless somebody else,” donor Crystal Frye said.
Chapman said the money raised on Tuesday will primarily go to emergency services for people falling on bad times.
"They need just a place to stay until they can pull everything together or a meal, or clothing," Champan said. "When we love each other, when we come together in unity the community is so much better.”
Next year, the Salvation Army of Orlando hopes to do this again but the goal will be to raise $300,000 in just one rotation.
“Need knows no season and we want to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice," Chapman said. "We want to bring home to those who have lost home, direction for those who’ve lost their way and raising this kind of money makes that happen."
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