Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Off To Slow Start

Thanksgiving Day marked the official kick-off of the Salvation Army’s Annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The fundraiser is critical to year-round operations of essential services to those in the most need across New York state. However, donations at the kettles are off to a slow start after the first full week of bell ringing.

Perhaps the most visible of their fundraisers, the Salvation Army relies on money raised in the red kettles to support social service programs year-round. Critical services like hunger relief through food pantries and soup kitchens, shelter and housing programs, youth services for kids of low-income families like after-school and character-building programs, music lessons and week-long camp experiences and more are all made possible by the communities’ generosity at the kettles. All donations received in the kettles stay in the communities where the contributions are made to assist local individuals and families in need.

“The Salvation Army has kettle locations across all of New York State. The money raised through this campaign is used to support thousands of local residents each year. And every indicator, every predictor that we use points to even greater need this holiday season,” said Maj. Ivan K. Rock, state commander of the Empire Division. “This is why we need this campaign to be successful.”

Locally, Maj. John Merchant said the Salvation Army had to hire bell ringers again this season due to a lack of volunteers. The local Salvation Army is hoping to raise $112,000 in Jamestown and $57,000 in Dunkirk in this year’s campaign. Merchant said Jamestown’s goal fell short last year for the first time since he’s been with the nonprofit.

“We’ll take any volunteers we can get,” Merchant said recently. “Anything people are willing to do we’ll take. Ideally, it would be good to get someone for more than an hour, but right now we’ll take anything.”

The Salvation Army is encouraging families, friends, co-workers, community groups and other organizations to join the fight for good this Christmas and volunteer to ring the bell. Just 60 minutes of bell ringing yields enough in donations to feed 13 people.

This holiday tradition begins on Thanksgiving Day and ends every year on Dec. 24.

To donate or learn more, please visit, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or contact the local Salvation Army office at 664-4108.