Salvation Army puts out first red kettles of season
HUNTINGTON — Bells will be ringing, beginning Friday and up through Christmas, as Salvation Army volunteers stationed outside of local businesses direct the attention of shoppers toward the red kettles that collect money during the holiday season.
The Huntington Salvation Army kicked off its Angel Tree and Red Kettle campaigns Friday evening at Pullman Square with Christmas music, hot chocolate and cookies to begin spreading the holiday spirit.
“Jingle Bells” and other festive tunes were provided by Tri-State Brass.
The money dropped into the kettles over the course of two months stays in the ZIP code where the kettle is located and makes up 80 percent of the Salvation Army’s yearly budget.
The coins and dollars collected fund everything from the holiday meals and gifts the organization provides all the way to its summer programming, emergency shelters and utility bills.
“That’s why if you get sick of hearing that bell, just remember - we’re only doing it for two months, and that money lasts us the entire year,” said Lt. Liz Blusiewicz, commanding officer for the Huntington Salvation Army.
Kettles and volunteers were placed at 17 locations beginning Friday, and after Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army will have 32 locations in the Huntington area.
The Angel Tree was also set up at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville. Blusiewicz said the Angel Tree program will serve 542 families this holiday season, including more than 1,000 children. The program provides Christmas gifts, including clothes and toys, to children whose families cannot afford to do so.
The Salvation Army is still accepting applications from families that want to be included in the Angel Tree program, and those seeking this opportunity can contact the Huntington Salvation Army directly. Those looking to “adopt” an angel off the tree can do so at the Huntington Mall.
The Huntington Salvation Army is accepting bell-ringer volunteers, and those interested in becoming bell ringers can sign up at RedKettleVolunteer.org.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.