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Salvation Army Unveiling ‘Tree of Light’

November 10, 2018

Sentinel & Enterprise

FITCHBURG -- The Salvation Army is lighting up the town.

For the first time ever, The Salvation Army Fitchburg is lighting a Christmas tree to kick-off the organization’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The Salvation Army’s new “Tree of Lights” will be located at 739 Water St. The kick-off will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

According to Salvation Army Envoy Lynnette Valentine, The Tree of Lights will be lit up incrementally as funds are collected in coming weeks, and the amount raised will be updated periodically on a display board inside the Salvation Army building.

She said the campaign incorporates collections from the Salvation Army’s red kettles, which will be manned by volunteers at locations around Fitchburg, Leominster and Lunenburg through Dec. 24 and includes money raised from individual and corporate donations as well as seasonal special events.

The Red Kettle campaign begins Nov. 10 and runs through Christmas Eve. Money generated by the campaign is used to provide essential assistance and services to area residents during the holiday season and throughout the year.

The organization is also hoping to find volunteers and community groups that can provide 2,862 volunteer hours to man the kettles.

Valentine said with the public’s help, the organization can extend the magic of the season to light up the community.

“Together, we can continue to help provide social service, shelter, warming centers, camp for the kids in the summer, help with utilities, rent, summer fun, bridging the gap, music mentoring, Thanksgiving baskets, and help for the holidays to local families who need it most. Let’s make this Christmas a memorable one for all to see,” said Valentine.

The Red Kettle tradition began in 1891 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to help feed needy citizens in San Francisco. McFee remembered the ferry landings in Liverpool England, where people would sit with small kettles that travelers would toss spare change into to help the less fortunate.

Placing his own kettle on Market Street in Oakland, McFee was able to help individuals on Christmas. The idea traveled to Boston in 1897 and the Red Kettle Campaign has been a tradition ever since.

For more information, please visit SalvationArmyMA.org/Fitchburg .

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