November 19, 2011

Red Kettle Launch

Bell ringers launch annual Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

Amy Abbott / Special to the Courier & Press
Originally published 12:21 p.m., November 18, 2011
Updated 04:39 p.m., November 18, 2011
—Community leaders, uniformed Salvation Army officers, and 13 students from Cedar Hall Community School met Friday morning in the Evansville Courier & Press lobby to launch the 2011 Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, with a goal of raising $240,000.
With an iconic red kettle setting the scene, seventh-grader Mackenzie Jackson offered the first challenge of the $240,000 goal. Jackson is a member of the Builders Club, a group sponsored by the Northside Kiwanis, which supports the Army’s Red Kettle efforts with a food drive.
“Last year, our club collected more than 2,000 cans of food,” she said. “We want to challenge other EVSC schools to do the same this year.”
Jackson and fellow Builders Club members kicked off the annual campaign by ringing tiny bells.
Maj. David Minks and his wife, Capt. Shanda Minks, discussed the pressing community need.
“Each campaign takes on a personal meaning to me,” said David Minks. “Every day the Salvation Army sees those who are doing without. When the bells ring, it says, ‘We can do more’. When our funds run out, it is distressing because of the huge need.”
Approximately $238,000 was raised last year, said Sandra Appler, the Salvation Army’s director of development.
“It’s important that the community understand that these funds are used throughout the year, and not just at Christmas time,” said Appler, “When the floods came last spring, the funds to help people came from last year’s campaign.”
More than 9,000 volunteer hours are needed to reach the $240,000 goal during the holiday season, David Minks said. He said there will be about 33 Red Kettle locations in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties, with bell ringers working from morning to evening.
The root of this fundraising campaign goes back more than 100 years when Salvation Army Capt. Joe McFee pledged to feed 1,000 homeless people in San Francisco. He originally used a black cooking pot, but the color of the Army’s red shield was adopted and is now universally recognized as the symbol of the Salvation Army.
“Imagine what it would mean if everyone rang a bell for only one hour, said Courier & Press Publisher Jack Pate as he made the year’s first donation.
Those tech-savvy individuals who wish to contribute to this year’s campaign can text RING to 80888 or GIVE to 80888 to make a $5 or $10 donation, respectively.