The 2011 Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Red Kettle Campaign kicked off Nov. 25, and hundreds of locations in Central Oklahoma will host Salvation Army Bell Ringers this Christmas season.
However, collections for the Red Kettle are $7,500 lower this year than they were this same time last year.
The Salvation Army uses the donations to the Red Kettles for services to the Central Oklahoma area, capped off by its Christmas assistance program. The kick-off event, held Nov. 25 at Norman I-35 Walmart, featured Salvation Army officers and bellringers as well as Oklahoma’s largest Red Kettle, the Oklahoma City Thunder Mascot Rumble the Bison and the Salvation Army ensemble.
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command includes Canadian, Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties.
“Our goal this year is to raise $599,768 total for all three counties,” said Area Commander Major Dan Proctor. “Last year, we were so blessed that the community beat the 2010 goal of $433,000, and we hope once again, citizens will donate their pocket change to help make a real difference to those suffering.”
The Army has increased its services due to higher demand and needs to bring in more than last year to meet the goal. By county, this year’s goals are $28,727 for Canadian County, $106,261 for Cleveland County and $464,780 for Oklahoma County.
Throughout the past several years, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma continues to see an increase in services. The Salvation Army depends upon bellringing and other fundraising efforts throughout the Christmas season for 20 percent of its fiscal year budget.
“What we really need is for more service clubs, volunteer organizations, college students, community leaders, church Sunday School classes, families or individuals to commit to covering a location for a day or two, or half-days for smaller groups. Many clubs or groups have helped in the past and may even consider raising their own bar to help even more, perhaps covering a longer day or a second day. This would be so very helpful,” said Major Proctor.
The Salvation Army will once again provide toys and clothes to 2,000 families in Central Oklahomaas well. Gifts will also be 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 offering support any way we can.“
To volunteer to help with the bell ringing or for more information about Christmas programs, call Lois Green at 405-246-1100. Paid bell ringing positions are also available, although volunteers are preferred.