The 2011 Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Christmas season kicks off this month not only with the Annual Red Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree program, but with a familiar “face” as well.
Rumble the Bison, mascot for The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, is the honorary chair of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s annual Christmas campaign. Fans can expect to see the bison ringing bells, hanging Angels on the Angel Tree and encouraging others to give.
“Rumble is a beloved personality in Central Oklahomaand throughout the state. In addition, Rumble is famous for giving his time and talents to help better our community, so we invited him to be the face of the Christmas campaign this year,” said Area Commander Major Dan Proctor. “The honorary chair is chosen for his or her commitment to the community… I think it’s safe to say this is the first time a bison has been chosen.”
As the honorary chair, Rumble will kick off The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign at 10 a.m. Nov. 25 at the Norman Walmart on Interstate Dr., and will unveil this year’s Angel Tree at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 18 at Quail Springs Mall. In addition, he will be in all of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s promotions for Christmas.
“The Thunder is proud to continue its partnership with the Salvation Army. Together we will be able to touch the lives of thousands of Oklahomans during the holiday season. This year we are especially thrilled for Rumble to chair the prominent Red Kettle campaign,” said Thunder Director of Community Relations Christine Berney.
Fans can keep track of Rumble throughout the campaign on his Facebook (rumblethebison) and twitter (@rumblethebison) page, Berney added.
Since his debut in 2009, Rumble the Bison has completed over 1,200 community appearances throughout the state of Oklahoma, averaging more than 400 a season. In addition to birthday parties, city parades and school visits, Rumble can be spotted supporting non-profit agencies across the state. He annually participates in Central Oklahoma’s Race for the Cure, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon as Kids Chair, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree launch and the United Way Campaign for Central Oklahoma.
The Salvation Army uses Red Kettle donations for services to the Central Oklahoma area, capped off by its Christmas assistance program. Last year, Central Oklahomashoppers donated more than $430,000 to the Red Kettles, the most ever raised in the area.
Throughout the past years, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma continues in its mission of “Doing the Most Good” and has seen an increase in services. The Salvation Army depends upon Kettle donations and other fundraising efforts throughout the Christmas season to help feed, clothe and shelter people all year long. .
The Salvation Army will once again provide toys and clothes to 2,000 families in Central Oklahoma through the Angel Tree program with Angel Trees located at both Penn Square and Quail Springs malls. Gifts are also given to nursing home residents.
The Salvation Army and its officers are deeply committed to carrying out its ministry not only during the holiday season, but year round, said Major Proctor.
“Although our visibility is more heightened during the holidays, it is important that the community knows that our programs are ongoing,” said Major Proctor. “We all need to come together to revitalize and strengthen the core of our local community by ‘Doing the Most Good’ and offering support any way we can. Rumble also brings the community together, so he is a perfect fit for our Christmas outreach.”
To volunteer to ring bells or for more information about Christmas programs and events planned by The Salvation Army, call Heide Brandes or Lois Green at 405-246-1100. Paid bell ringing positions are also available, although volunteers are preferred.