Marshalltown businessman Jody Anderson clearly remembers being poor.
"Christmases were nothing when I was growing up," he said.
The memories of Christmases past, combined with a clever use of the Facebook page for his businesses, melded with the generosity of friends resulted in $1,000 donated to Marshalltown's Salvation Army.
Members of the Martinez family of Marshalltown are shown singing Christmas carols at the Marshall Town Center Saturday while soliciting for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. From left are Juan Martinez, Abigail Saucedo, Alejandra Martinez, Emmanuel Martinez (behind red kettle) and Andres Saucedo. Alejandra is employed at Lennox Manufacturing and is a member of the Lennox Leadership Development Organization.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Anderson Family Funeral Home owner Jody Anderson, center, is shown speaking with Juan Martinez, far right, Monday afternoon at the Marshalltown funeral home. From left, family members are Abigail Saucedo, Andres Saucedo, Alejandra Martinez, Ismael Martinez (held by Martinez) and Emmanuel Martinez (back to camera).
Anderson, owner of Anderson Family Funeral Homes, said he was at Marshall Town Center Saturday and noticed the Martinez family of Marshalltown singing Christmas carols while serving as Salvation Army volunteers.
Anderson was impressed and deposited what cash he had on hand - $5 - in the red kettle.
Additionally, he took a photo of the family performing.
That night over dinner, he told his wife Amy they should do more.
"We have come to a point in our life where we can give more," Jody said. "I posted the Martinezes picture on the funeral home's new Facebook page, and challenged readers ... I said I would give $1 for every "like" received in a 24-hour period.
Viewers responded strongly, with 760 recorded.
"It went viral," Jody said. "And then friends - Jim and Donna Brown of Churdan - offered a pledge of $240 - making the total $1,000."
The Martinez family was pleased to have had a role.
Alejandra Martinez said the family regularly performs at Marshalltown's Church of the Nazerene, where husband Juan is a Hispanic minister.
"Our family has been performing at church for about one year," she said. "We thought it would help the Salvation Army if we sang Christmas carols while volunteering."
Spouse Amy said she thought Jody's idea was great.
"When Jody mentioned the idea, I was behind him 100 percent," she said. "I had no idea it would become like this ... I'm very pleased and happy we can help."
Jody urged others to give to the charity of their choice.
"If you can give ... give," he said. "It doesn't have to be the Salvation Army, but another charity. To me, this project is about where I came from and where I am now."