Salvation Army continues it tradition of giving at Kettle Campaign kickoff
The Salvation Army of Aiken continued a tradition more than a century old Saturday, kicking off its annual Kettle Campaign.
The campaign, the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser, provides assistance not only during the Christmas season but also helps people in need of food, shelter and necessities throughout the year.
S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-S.C., made the first official donation during the opening ceremony Saturday at the Aiken County Historical Museum. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and one of their favorite elves from the North Pole made a special appearance, and members of the Aiken Mid-Day Lions Club provided refreshments.
The Kettle Campaign “feeds every program the Salvation Army of Aiken has,” said Lt. Randy Tiller.
“The Kettle Campaign raises the majority of the money we use during the year,” he said. “It’s not just to help the kids during Christmas with presents on Christmas day and to provide food for families during Thanksgiving. It’s also to provide energy assistance to people who need it during the year and to people who need extra food.”
Funds from the campaign also go the Boys and Girls Club of Aiken and the Salvation Army’s shelter on Park Avenue. All donations stay in the community.
“It’s really our lifeline,” Tiller said.
Last year, the campaign raised about $76,000 and about $82,000 the year before. This year’s goal is about $82,000, Tiller said.
Captain Joseph McFee started the Kettle Campaign in San Francisco in 1891.
“He took a look around and saw that there were people in the community who didn’t have a reason to be joyful during the holidays, and that broke his heart,” Tiller said. “He decided to do something about it but knew he would need the community behind it.
“He got a little black kettle pot, and that was history, Since then every year around this time, the Salvation Army goes out, and we do what we can do now to provide for people throughout the year.”
This year’s Red Kettle campaign will run through Dec. 24 at locations as follows:
• Belk, 2441 Whiskey Road
• BI-LO, 1016 Pine Log Road
• BI-LO, 1048 York St. N.E.
• Food Lion, 1520 Richland Ave. W.
• Hobby Lobby, 2530 Whiskey Road
• Kroger, 795 Whiskey Road
• Roses, 1630 Richland Ave. W.
• Sam’s Club, 220 Jefferson Davis Highway
• Walmart, 2035 Whiskey Road
• Walmart, 3581 Richland Ave. W.
Volunteers will be at the locations from 9 a.m. To 9 p.m.
The Salvation Army also is sponsoring its annual Angel Tree to provide Christmas gifts for children 12 and younger. Participants can choose a child or children to sponsor from the trees at the Belk at the Aiken Mall, 2441 Whiskey Road; at the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store, 103 Silver Bluff Road; and at the Salvation Army’s Family Store, 3730 Richland Ave. W.
The program will run through Dec. 12.
Last year, the Angel Tree project provided Christmas gifts for about 650 families and more than 1,200 children, said Lt. April Tiller with the Salvation Army of Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell and Edgefield Counties.