The Salvation Army 2019 Red Kettle Season is officially underway, following a special kick-off celebration on Oct. 31 at Chick-Fil-A in Branson.
The kick-off included an appearance by the giant red kettle, welcome remarks from Branson Capt. Linda McCormick and the first official Branson red kettle donation made by Chick-Fil-A Branson Owner and Operator Kevin Hutcheson.
For this year’s red kettle season, the Branson Salvation Army has set a goal of $100,000 for itself.
As of Nov. 1, red kettles have been set up at Dick’s 5 & 10, Bass Pro Shops Branson, Belk, area Country Marts, Harter House, Price Chopper and the Sight and Sound Theatre.
McCormick said that once they get the final approval, a kettle will be set up at Silver Dollar City, and as always, red kettles will be set up at area Walmarts after Thanksgiving.
A common misconception is that the money raised from the red kettles is only used around Christmas time, when in actuality those donations are put to use year round by The Salvation Army.
“Immediately, it goes for the warming center that we have when the temperatures are bitter, and that’s in the 20s and below. We also do rental assistance, we do electrical assistance, prescriptions and gas vouchers,” said McCormick. “The Clothe a Child program, which gives a child a $25 gift card from Vanity Fair, as long as they are registered in school and we have proof of that.”
Donations are also used to fill the shelves of The Salvation Army food pantry and for the Community Cares Ministries, which is where volunteers visit nursing homes at Christmas to visit, pray, sing carols and give gifts to the residents.
“So you can see how important the goal is to reach, because we do a lot,” McCormick said. “So that goal is important. It’s not just a said number in the sky and we go, ‘that sounds good.’ No, I have to budget everything out.
“How much am I going to spend here, what’s going to be spent there, and I have to make sure I stay within those confines.”
McCormick said that, at the end of the season, the money raised through the red kettles are added up with the donations that are personally dropped off and those that are mailed into the center to reach their fundraising goal.
Bellringing volunteers are always in need and can visit RegisterToRing.com to sign up. Interested volunteers can also call the Branson Salvation Army office at 417-339-4434 to get set up with a kettle spot.