DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – The start of the holiday season also marks the start of the Salvation Army’s annual “Red Kettle Drive.” The program has been operating in the United States for more than a century.
“People are very familiar with the Salvation Army being out during the Christmastime and helping a large number of families,” said Captain Mark Gilliam.
Gilliam is the Corps Officer for the Salvation Army in Decatur. Its “Red Kettle” season serves more than 450 families in Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence Counties.
Monday, the charity organization announced that this season’s goal is to raise $250,000, which is double last year’s mark.
“The demand has just been greater,” said Gilliam, “more families coming in needing food. We’re seeing people we’ve never seen before helping them with food.”
The branch made its announcement surrounded by food at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur. Executive Chef Chris Lilly serves on the board for the Salvation Army.
“The Salvation Army is there to really give people the support to really bring them up so they can be an invaluable member of our community,” said Lilly.
The money raised through the local “Red Kettle” campaign stays local and it serves as the group’s largest fundraiser of the year.
The organization is also hoping for a boost from this year’s #GivingTuesday. The one-day charitable giving promotion, which is slated for December 1 this year, counteracts its retail counterparts by encouraging folks to donate to their favorite non-profits.
“The success of #GivingTuesday will also relate through the whole season, giving throughout the Christmas season,” said Gilliam.
The holiday drive helps to fund the Salvation Army’s year-round efforts, including its emergency shelter and its feeding programs. And Gilliam said the charity is serving more than ever, but receiving fewer donations. This year, the Salvation Army of Decatur operated with roughly $80,000 less than in years past.
“As the demand increases, we want to continue doing what we’re doing and helping our fellow man,” he said.
The Salvation Army of Decatur will have 24 “Red Kettle” locations throughout Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence Counties. You can drop off donations at the Decatur office located on 114 14th Street SW. You can also, click here, to donate online.
The charity is also helping more than 1,000 children this year through its “Angel Tree” program.
“It’s an incredible, incredible thing that the ‘Angels’ have all been adopted already this year,” said Gilliam. “We’re just waiting for them all to come in.”
Adopted Angels must be returned to either the pickup location or the Salvation Army office by December 9.