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Identity & Community

Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign Kicks Off in Western PA

While many will wake early on “Black Friday” with a shopping list in hand and sneakers laced to snag some deals at local retailers, a select few will awaken with a different goal in mind.

For volunteers of the Salvation Army of Western PA, the day after Thanksgiving marks the official kick off to the Annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign.

“The Salvation Army [during] this time of year found that those who are less fortunate are in need of some assistance, some help,” said Major Robert Kramer, the Assistant Allegheny Coordinator for the Western PA Salvation Army, “we along with the support and help of our community raise the needed funds to assist those who are going through a difficult time.”

The organization’s goal is to raise $2,487,000 including $577,000 in Allegheny County, with goals being set to match the area’s amount of need and budget.

“People give for different reasons,” said Kramer “[personally] my father was laid off during the holidays, and he sought help from the Salvation Army, they provide him [our family] and a number of other families who had been laid off with a Thanksgiving and Christmas basket to get us through the hard time—and I’ve remained committed ever since.”

This year the Army is asking people such as Kramer to share their story of giving to help spread the word about vital programs and services that are provide.

Donors can share their reasons for giving through the Salvation Army’s new social media campaign on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using #RedKettleReason. Participants can also view Red Kettle Reasons from all across the country by visiting redkettlereason.org.

“We tend to live from pay check to pay check and just one unforeseen hardship within a family can really turn life totally around, and we definitely want to be there at that time when someone falls upon that hardship to lend a hand,” said Kramer as he stressed the importance of getting involved.

He says volunteer bell ringers and additional kettle sites are always needed.

Those who want to get involved can visit their local Salvation Army which are scattered throughout the city, or ring a virtual bell from their homes by hosting an Online Red Kettle.

“Definitely would love to see you come and be supportive, and help them during this time because there are many volunteer opportunities--we need people helping to bag food or put the toys together for families so there are a lot of opportunities,” said Kramer.  

The organization is set to open its 38 worship and service centers, 10 service centers, and 107 service units in full force on Friday, Nov. 28 until Christmas Eve to continue the Army’s war on poverty. The fundraisers conducted during the holiday season will help fund numerous programs “We don’t actually ever truly ever close the door to serving those who are in need,” said Kramer, “we’re seeking to raise the needed funds not only for this time but for the new year coming.