Red Kettle Campaign overcoming low volunteer numbers
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It’s a familiar sound this time of year, the sound of bells as you enter a mall or storefront. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign has been a staple in America for more than a century.
“The Red Kettle Campaign started over a hundred years ago out west in California,” said Major Bradley Caldwell. “Just somebody that put together a pot of soup, and then they decided to use that pot to collect funds to help the needy to have something to eat.”
But this year, due to some issues beyond their control, The Salvation Army is in fewer locations. Major Caldwell doesn't think that will affect the final outcome though.
“We are always welcoming more volunteers,” Caldwell said. “We certainly have had a good turn out. More is always better. But, so far the returns are exceeding last year, so we’re optimistic about that aspect of the campaign itself.”
He champions volunteers like Chanetta Johnson, who knows first hand how much the Salvation Army helps those in need.
“It’s like giving back for me because I was once receiving the assistance, and I’m not anymore,” said Johnson. “So, I’m giving back to them.”
Johnson spent nearly a decade on the streets. She feels a responsibility to show her appreciation now that her situation has improved.
“Very happy,” she said. “Very proud to do that because I was homeless for nine years, and then, from being homeless to being in a place. Now I can give back.”
Caldwell believes better weather is helping the campaign see a “more bucks per bucket” response so far this year.
But he stresses to anyone who may be interested, volunteers are the driving force behind the campaign.
"We welcome your time and your efforts," he said. "It doesn't have to be a long time. It doesn't have to be a permanent commitment."
Efforts he hopes will help reach the local goal of $200 thousand dollars. The Red Kettle Campaign runs through Christmas Eve.
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