With feet as sure as a mountain goat, Bobby Campbell shimmies up a 15-foot Christmas tree built out of canned food and plywood to place a star on top. For about a decade he has built Christmas CanTrees with the Sacramento Association of Realtors. After being on display at Secret Garden in Elk Grove through the holidays, the canned goods will be donated to the Salvation Army.
Campbell, a mortgage banker who works from home, takes part in fundraising year round with SAR. Campbell grew up in humble circumstances, raised by a single mother who was blind. He was her "human guide dog," he said, and their family sometimes needed to accept food donations. "It comes from gratitude," he says of his charity work.
"My motto is if I can leave this world a little better than I found it, I've done a good job."
Campbell says his mother was an important role model for him. She was an outgoing person who was "handi-capable" he said. She could get around on her own through riding the bus and counting steps to classes. She was a rehabilitation counselor for the blind. Following in her footsteps in his own way, Campbell is a chairperson with SAR. They fundraise throughout the year with events such as crab feeds, wine tastings and the CanTrees. Their focus is on raising money to provide shelter to those who need it. They give to programs such as Rebuilding Together, St. John's Shelter, Francis House and more. "It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling," he says. "It makes you feel good to help other people."