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Kettles still at heart of Salvation Army campaign

Contributed • Dec 8, 2019 at 4:30 PM

If you happen by Walmart on Fort Henry Drive any Friday during the Christmas season, chances are you’ll hear bells and Christmas music ringing through the air. And more times than not, you’ll find veterans standing their post at the Salvation Army’s red kettles.

Those same ringing bells can be heard throughout the region as The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive continues from now through Christmas.

“Our Christmas Red Kettles are without a doubt the most prolific segment of our fundraising,” said Major Joseph May of The Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport. “Our kettle collection also generates a significant part of our social service budget.”

The goal for the Christmas Red Kettle campaign in Kingsport is $100,000. That’s less than last year, but so is the time frame in which to raise the money. Though the kettle campaign kicked off Nov. 15, donations generally amp up between Thanksgiving and Christmas and a later Thanksgiving means fewer collection days during the busy shopping season.

Still, the need remains. The Salvation Army expects to provide toys and Christmas assistance to approximately 1,200 families, including about 650 children this year.

“There is a lot of need and we are thankful that we can count on the strong support of our community to help meet that need,” May said.

In addition to supporting the effort financially, there’s another great way to get involved.

“We ring bells every day with the exception of Sundays. And the closer we get to Christmas the more bell ringers we need,” May explained.

If you or your office staff, church, civic club or organization would like to find out more about how you can volunteer to ring the bell for The Salvation Army this Christmas, call the Kingsport office at (423) 246-6671.

“This is an excellent opportunity to earn community service hours for Tennessee Promise and other programs that require volunteerism,” May said. “We prefer to have volunteers man our kettles. However, because we don’t have enough volunteers, we do have to hire a number of workers to make sure our kettles are covered.”

This Tuesday, Sullivan County EMS will be at the Walmart on Fort Henry Drive to collect toys for The Salvation Army Angel Tree in Kingsport. During this annual event, they try to fill two ambulances with toys for The Salvation Army to distribute to needy children in the Greater Kingsport area. They also man the kettles at both entrances.

Area residents can make donations to The Salvation Army by sending contributions to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 2280, Kingsport, TN 37662.

The Salvation Army in Kingsport serves western Sullivan and Hawkins counties in Tennessee and provides food, clothing emergency shelter and financial assistance to more than 11,000 people each year. The Salvation Army also conducts weekly religious services, and provides character-building programs and fellowship opportunities to the Kingsport community.

To learn more about the programs, contact Major Joseph May at (423) 246-6671 or visit the website at salvationarmytennessee.org/kingsport. You can also follow them on Facebook at The Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport Tennessee.

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