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Identity & Community

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign Kicks Off for the Holiday Season

The turkey hasn’t yet been served, but an iconic sign of Christmas will start popping up outside of stores and other locations – the Salvation Army’s red kettles.

“The goal for Western Pennsylvania is $2.7 million and the goal for Allegheny County is $687,500,” said Major Mark Mackneer, general secretary of Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania.

The Christmas Red Kettle Season officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, but the kettles are already popping up in various locations in an effort to get an early start on the goal. Last year, the Salvation Army reached only 94 percent of its $2.5 million goal in Western Pennsylvania. Each year, donations made to the red kettles account for a large chunk of the organization’s funding.

“The funds that are raised at the red kettles go to support our Thanksgiving and our Christmas efforts in Western Pennsylvania,” Mackneer said. “Generally they are used for toy distributions and food and supplies for the meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

More than 100 kettles will be placed throughout Allegheny County, and online and text donations are also accepted. Even with the growing popularity of electronic donations, Mackneer said it’s still smaller donations dropping into the kettles while people are out shopping that have the biggest impact.

“The small change and the dollars bills or whatever people put, it’s amazing that the red kettles do so well,” he said, “but it’s a tradition, and people trust the Salvation Army and the pocket change really adds up.”

In addition to the scattered red kettles, the Steelers will host Steelers Kettle Day at Heinz Field Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Kettles will be set up in and around Heinz Field for that event.