The holidays are rapidly approaching, and the Salvation Army is kicking off its annual holiday campaigns to help local residents in need.
This year’s the annual Red Kettle Campaign, which collects donations to fund Salvation Army programs, is set to kick off 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 5 at the front entrance of Uptown Meridian with a performance by the Salvation Army Band.
Captain Tamara Robb said the Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year, and the money raised goes to support local community programs for the next 12 months.
“This is the biggest fundraiser of the year,” she said.
Currently, the Salvation Army in Meridian is in the process of opening a new community center, where the organization will offer a wide variety of after school programs, adult education classes and community support. The funds raised from this year’s Red Kettle Campaign, she said, will go to support those programs.
Robb said the Salvation Army is need of volunteer bell ringers to help with this year’s campaign. With more volunteers, she said, more money can be used to support families in the East Mississippi area.
“We’re looking for volunteers to come out and help us ring,” she said.
Churches, civic groups, community organizations and businesses are all welcome to sign up to help. Ringing hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and shifts are available in both one and two-hour blocks.
This year’s event, which will end on Christmas Eve, will provide a cashless donation option. Those without cash will be able to scan a QR code on the red kettle sign to make a donation, Robb said.
Donations can also be made online at salvationarmyalm.org/meridian or by texting 91999.
The Red Kettle Campaign will kick off Friday with ringing beginning at Uptown Mall. Robb said there is still some work being done on agreements with the big box stores at the national level, but once that was complete ringing would expand to Wal-Mart and other locations as well.
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is also getting underway for this year’s holiday season.
The annual program helps ensure children from needy families receive a gift for Christmas.
Residents will be able to select an angel from the Angel Tree, which gives information about a child’s age, clothing size and Christmas wish list. Residents can then purchase gifts and return the angel to the Salvation Army, which will make sure the gift gets to the child in time for Christmas.
Robb said registration for angels was held earlier this month, with 310 children across Lauderdale, Kemper, Newton and Neshoba Counties signed up to receive gifts.
“We ask for the gifts to be back by December 10,” she said. “We’ll do a distribution the week before Christmas.”
This year, Robb said Angel Trees will be put up in Uptown Mall and at Citizens National Bank locations. The program is set to kick off Thursday, Nov. 4 at Citizens National Bank.