New Castle News

November 12, 2012

Photo Gallery, Story: Salvation Army kicks off Kettle campaign

Dan Irwin
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Looking to warm up someone’s Christmas? Well, the kettle is on.

The Salvation Army of New Castle launched its annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign on Saturday morning at Shop N Save in Westgate Plaza.

Nationally, the initiative that finds bell-ringers and red buckets on sidewalks in all sorts of weather, accepting donations for families in need, doesn’t begin until Thanksgiving. But local Captains Geoff and Mari Swires wanted to get an early start.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” Geoff Swires said. “About 60 percent of our budget comes from the kettle campaign, which is why it’s so very important.

“We’re also seeing increased need. Last year, there were three times as many families needing help as there were the previous years. That’s why we wanted to get out a little early, so we can try to help as many families as possible.”

Saturday’s kickoff was hosted by Dan Falcone, owner of the Westgate Plaza Shop N Save. Helping to set the mood were members of the Union Middle School fifth- and sixth-grade choir who, under the direction of John Westcott, sang a variety of Christmas tunes.

Falcone provided cupcakes for the group at the conclusion of its performance.

“We want to thank Dan Falcone,” Swires said. “He helps the Salvation Army throughout the year, and we’re grateful he allowed us to have our kettle campaign kickoff here at Shop N Save.”

For anyone else who’d like to help, the obvious avenue is to donate whenever you see a red kettle. However, the Salvation Army also is looking for volunteers to serve as kettle bell-ringers. Individuals or organizations may call the Salvation Army at (724) 652-7921 for more information.

You also can give or collect donations online. Through www.OnlineRedKettle.org, supporters can create a virtual red kettle to raise donations from friends and family. Last year, more than $1.7 million was raised through Online Red Kettles to support the Christmas campaign. In addition, through Dec. 24, donors can text the word “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Red Kettle Campaign.

The kettle campaign traces its roots to 1891. Now, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2011, the campaign raised a record $147.6 million nationwide, helping The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)