Salvation Army Christmas 2015
Phoenix Convention Center
This is my 5th year of being a part of the Christmas family portraits for the Salvation Army at the Phoenix Convention Center. I look forward to doing this every year. My first year I was one of 8 or 10 photographers shooting the portraits; but, things were a bit chaotic that first year — so I offered to direct this complicated undertaking every year thereafter.
Christmas Eve Morning: my job has been to direct people to decorate the 10 back drops for the photographers to use, Christmas Day, and to set up barricades for the many hundreds of people that would file through to have their family’s portrait taken.
Christmas Morning: my job is to do a final check of the backdrops and the barricades that they are OK from the day before, and to confer with my main helper, Jack. We come up with a plan on how we will funnel people into the shooting area. Jack will have 5-6 volunteers helping him queue up the families into one single file line that will stretch half the width of the convention building. (That is the banner photograph you see on top of this post). I will meet with each of the 8 photographers and have them pick out a background to use. Each photographer needs 4 volunteers to help them set up the portraits, and to run the camera photo cards to the printing area.
We have 3 professional printers printing out two – 8 1/2 x 11 prints in a cardboard folder for each of the portraits that we take. We will have 7-8 volunteers along the back wall signaling to Jack and his helpers up front, that a photographer is now ready for more people–to direct the families to those openings. We have 3 volunteers stamp the hands of the families after they have the portraits taken.
Click on any photograph below and it will enlarge!
All in all it takes 50+ volunteers — from photographers, runners and people directing– to make the family portraits run smoothly. I know that I cannot speak only for myself, but all volunteers that assist in this area, that it is very satisfying for those that are in need take away something of real value, having memories of Christmas 2015.
We are only a very small part of all the things that that take place at this one location — for Salvation Army on Christmas. 5,000 dinner meals are served here and another 3,800 meals go out on meals on wheels. Toys, food, music, refreshments, games for children to play on site, haircuts and phone call services are also provided free-of-charge for those in need. Approximately 1,000 volunteers make this one event happen.