Birmingham Salvation Army Launches Red Kettle Christmas Campaign

Birmingham Salvation Army Launches Red Kettle Christmas Campaign
Salvation Army in desperate need of Red Kettle bell ringers in Hampton Roads
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — The holidays are here and the Salvation Army in Traverse City is gearing up to help those in need.

The program is designed to help those in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties who are in need during this holiday season.

If you are interested in registering, you can go to the Barlow Street location Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign kicks off Friday, Nov. 9, but the organization is struggling to recruit enough bell ringers this year.

For every hour a volunteer spends ringing bells outside local grocery stores, the Salvation Army of Dane County collects an average of $60, enough money to pay for a woman to spend three nights in its shelter.

All of that money stays local: donated to the county's only single women's shelter and the only emergency drop-in shelter for families. The Salvation Army also runs after-school programs and a community center.

To pay for those services, the Salvation Army needs to raise $525,000 between tomorrow and Christmas Eve. Any additional money raised will help the organization provide more services. If it doesn't hit that mark, it'll have to find other ways to raise money.

"We can't shut the shelter down because we're the only one," said Steve Heck, director of operations for the Salvation Army of Dane County. "We can't tell the kids in our after-school program they can't come because we don't have the money. We have to find the money someplace."

Heck said the kettles give everyone in the community an opportunity to give, support, and make a difference in so many peoples' lives.

"That's one of the coolest things about ringing bells," said Heck. "People will come up and thank you for volunteering, but then they'll tell you a story: a story about how the Salvation Army helped their family in WWII or how the Salvation Army helped them and it was the only Christmas presents they had."

Heck said he rings bells every day during the holiday season and never ceases to be amazed by the number of people who have been able to turn their lives around thanks to the Salvation Army.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to ring alone. Adults are allowed to bring kids of any age. To better accommodate parents, all Walgreens bell ringing locations have shortened this year's shifts to one hour and allow volunteers to ring indoors rather than outside.

However, organizers with the Salvation Army say outdoor bell ringers typically collect more money because people feel bad for them standing in the cold, winter weather.

Kettle pass pins are back this year, too. You can buy them in $20, $50, and $100 amounts on the Salvation Army's website, so you can show bell ringers you've already donated in case you don't carry cash or change with you.

Posted in Birmingham