Bells will be ringing: Red Kettle kicks off with increased need this year


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As Mother Nature couldn’t decide to snow or rain and car radio dials debated whether it was too early for Christmas music or not, the Kent County Salvation Army made it loudly heard that the holiday season is here. The bells in their annual Red Kettle Campaign began ringing across West Michigan at 12 p.m. Friday.

In 131 years of ringing the bells, like last year, the Salvation Army is expecting, and in some areas already seeing, increased demand for holiday assistance this year. The Red Kettle Campaign has set a local $1.6 million goal this year to help meet each need. Last year they saw their numbers double for assistance and already this year they have served more than 12,000 people.

With their Hope Marches On theme in mind, the Salvation Army wants to remind West Michigan that while the bells may be an audible reminder of the giving season, they support year-round programs for neighbors in need — food assistance, rental and energy bill help, housing resources, substance abuse assistance and a number of other Salvation Army initiatives.

For every donated dollar SA receives, 82-cents of it is put directly back into supporting those programs. So when you hear a bell outside of one of the many participating organizations, drop in your spare change and know that it’s serving someone in need of your help. If you don’t have spare change, the bell ringers will also have Kettle Pay — codes at the kettles that will take you back to a donation page with Google and Apple Pay capabilities or donate electronically with the Virtual Kettle.

If you can’t give with money, the Salvation Army is asking that you give with your time. They still need bell ringers at 50 sites across the area as they work to help the more than 1,500 families in just this Christmas season alone. Register here.

You can help the Christmas morning miracle come true for a West Michigan boy or girl through the Angel Tree Toy Drive.

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