Christmas has long gone, and the bells of the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle season are silent.
But, the 2015 campaign still reverberates with Coordinator Kandi Wolf. The fundraising effort surpassed its $32,000 goal for the year as the army of bell ringers brought in $32,371.
“One person can make a difference,” said Wolf who as in her first year of heading up the program. “I want to thank all the bell ringers and volunteers for their dedication.”
The drive raises money for the poor, homeless and others in need who often remain overlooked during the holidays and all year long, Wolf said. “The money from the inserts in the newspapers as well as the kettle earnings go to the local Salvation Army fund to help in our community.”
The campaign began the day after Thanksgiving and ran through Dec. 24, the day before Christmas. The ringers were out from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday in shifts of two to five hours.
There were staffed kettles at Walmart, both Dillons grocery stores and Walgreens in Great Bend, and at Town and Country Market in Hoisington. In addition, there were unmanned counter-top kettles at numerous businesses in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood.
A bigger picture
Nationally, the 2015 Red Kettle Campaign collected $149.6 million, setting a new national fundraising record for the effort, enough to help the Salvation Army provide food, shelter and social services to nearly 30 million Americans in need this year.
“Although the retail landscape continues to shift, we’re encouraged to see that Americans are still willing to give at our 25,000 kettles stationed across the country,” said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army’s National Headquarters. “The 2015 campaign was the largest year we’ve ever had for kettles, helping us lay the groundwork for a strong year of service in 2016.”
The 125th Red Kettle Campaign opened during the televised halftime performance of the Dallas Cowboys game against the Carolina Panthers on Thanksgiving Day.
Started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable charitable campaigns in the United States. It provides toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year around.
More than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers throughout the country ring bells and solicit donations to the red kettles.
For information on the program, call Wolf at 620-797-5651.