Family raises nearly $14,000 in Biloxi for Salvation Army

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For more than eight hours District 1 Harrison County Supervisor Windy Swetman and his wife Jon'elle rang the Salvation Army bell and collected nearly $14,000 during a kettle-thon at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

The Swetman's say they couldn't be happier about exceeding their goal of $5,000 and being able to help more people.

"It's absolutely amazing. And it's such a blessing to see the Gulf Coast come together for the children of this community who would not have a Christmas without our help. And for people who wouldn't have their basic needs met without the Salvation Army," said Jon'elle.

"I can't tell you how many business people have come out. How many seniors have come out. I had a couple who said they saw this on the news drove over from Gulfport," said Windy.

Because of Thanksgiving starting later this year and delaying part of their red kettle campaign Salvation Army officials say they were worried they wouldn't make their goal for Harrison County.

"A week ago we were like there's no way we're going to reach this goal were going to have exactly what we had last year, but with Windy stepping up as our Christmas chair and Jon'elle doing this for us it looks like we may reach out goal of the $200,000 goal," said Salvation Army Area Commander Major Gary Sturdivant.

The Swetman's say they did whatever they could to ensure all their friends and community members would donate.

"It was an online event with Facebook we had friends sharing the invite and information. It just kind of took on a life of its own," said Jon'elle.

Salvation officials say the average red kettle brings in anywhere from $50 to $500 making this red kettle-thon the most money raised in a day in Harrison County for 2013.

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