It’s red kettle time [UPDATED]Published 11:02am Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Updated 11:02am Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Lieutenant Linda McCormick of the Fergus Falls Salvation Army is asking the public to answer the bell ringer’s call and fill the kettles for a good cause this holiday season.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign starts Thursday with a Kickoff party at 5:30 p.m. in the Service Food parking lot. The public is invited for hot chocolate and cookies, and to enjoy music by the children’s choir from the organization’s after school program.
The event will mark the beginning of the Red Kettle Campaign, which helps the organization raise funds for its programs. As kettles start appearing at locations around town, the organization will be getting ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22.
“We normally serve about 250 dinners on Thanksgiving,” said Lieutenant Linda McCormick. “We also make dinner deliveries to about 30 shut-ins on the holiday.”
McCormick said there are different reasons people gather at the Salvation Army for Thanksgiving.
“Some are seniors that don’t want to cook, families that are stretching their budget, or people that are homeless,” said McCormick. “We help build up the body and soul.”
While funds from the kettle campaign help, the Salvation Army still needs volunteers and donations.
“We are still recruiting for bell ringers, both volunteer and paid,” said McCormick. “We also need drivers to deliver meals, and donations of turkeys and trimmings.”
Turkeys, pies, dinner rolls and green beans can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Community Center, 622 E. Vernon Ave. To be a volunteer driver or a bell ringer, contact the organization at 218-739-9692.
The Salvation Army has been serving the Fergus Falls community for 119 years. 92 percent of funds collected go directly to help people in need through programs like emergency rental assistance or help paying utility bills. Last year that translated to over $100,000 in assistance to needy individuals and families.
“Many families in our community are one crisis away from bankruptcy,” said McCormick. “We have a tradition of helping, and are a hand up, not a hand out, to those in need.”