For the second year running, the Long Beach Salvation Army is opening its doors at the Donald & Priscilla Hunt Red Shield Community Center this Saturday, providing an afternoon of games and activities for kids and families in the community.
Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson will be in attendance to help tip-off a basketball game between the Long Beach Police Department and the Long Beach Fire Department, which is scheduled to run from 1:30-2:30 p.m. inside the Red Shield’s new gymnasium.
“We’re extremely excited,” Director of Programs & Development Melinda Lankford said on having the mayor involved in this year’s event. “We have appreciated his support from when he was a council member. … He loves and cares for the community and wants to help people, and really cares for those in need too, so we’re so grateful for him coming.”
The Fire Department will look to defend its bragging rights from last year in what is becoming an annual tradition. This year’s winner will get to put their name on the new plaque that will commemorate the friendly rivalry.
While the game is going on indoors, families will also be able to enjoy the carnival-like setting in the parking lot. Every kid in attendance will receive free tickets for games and the typical concessions including hot dogs, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and more.
The Los Angeles Rams are one of the many organizations that will have representatives stopping by with activities for kids. Wado Kai Karate will be hosting skills training from 1-2 p.m., Pateadores Soccer will run drills and have skills challenges on the soccer field between 2-3 p.m., and B-Ballers Hoops will have shooting games and contests on the basketball court from 3-4 p.m.
Additionally, the Act Out Theater Company will be on site offering face painting for kids, and the Jazz Angels will put on a performance along with some young aspiring musicians.
“We just want the community to get on campus and recognize what we have to offer,” said Lankford of Red Shield Day. “We have all these great sports and activities going on, and our membership is still free right now, so we’re excited to have people sign up so that they can come for the rest of the school year plus the summer.”
“We want as many people on campus in different ways and experiencing different things,” she added, “to see what needs their family has and how we can meet that need.”
The Second Annual Red Shield Day is this Saturday, March 25, at the Salvation Army at 3000 Long Beach Blvd., at the corner of Spring Street. The festivities will take place from 12-4 p.m. and is free for families to attend, with a number of activities in art, music and sports geared towards children between ages 5-13.
The Long Beach Red Shield location offers programming for kids every weekday after school from 2:30-7 p.m. For more information, visit Long Beach Salvation Army website.