The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is kicking off the season on November 19 with an event at Kent Corporation at 2905 Highway 61 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Following the kick off, the regular bell ringing schedule will begin.  This year, kettles with bell ringers will be located at Hy-Vee Food Store (both doors), Hy-Vee Mainstreet, Fareway, Walgreens, the Pearl Plaza (shortened hours) and Wal-Mart (both doors).   Volunteer hours are available from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Walgreens, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Pearl Plaza, and 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at all other locations, Monday through Saturday.  Bell ringing will continue until noon on December 24.

In addition to the seven manned kettles, the Salvation Army has placed over 30 “counter kettles” at various businesses around town.  Donations can be made into the kettles at any time.

The money raised during the annual campaign makes up a large portion of the annual budget, and is used for items such as utility disconnection assistance, food assistance among other social services that are provided.

The 2015 Red Kettle Campaign goal is set at $150,000. These funds are raised through a combination of the funds provided in the kettles, large private and corporate donations, and the direct mail campaign.  All funds raised locally benefit the local chapter.

In addition to the fundraising campaign, the Salvation Army is requesting community assistance in the annual toy drive.  New, unwrapped toys will be accepted up until December 11.  So far in registration, almost 90 bicycles have been requested, in addition to the customary smaller toys.  Popular requests this year include Monster High, Frozen, Minecraft and Ninja Turtles.

Families with teens that are requesting assistance will receive a “teen box” for their child.  The teen box will include items such as movie tickets, gift certificates to local restaurants and entertainment.  Residents who wish to contribute to the teen boxes are encouraged to donate money, which will in turn be used to purchase the correct amount of tickets and certificates.

In addition to toys, there is a need for hats, scarves, and gloves to provide to each child that is signed up.

Angel trees with a specific child’s sizes and preferences will be placed at HyVee. Donations can be specific to an angel from the trees, or can be general.  Toys can be dropped off at the Salvation Army, in the large collection boxes as HyVee.

Families in need of assistance can apply by appointment until November 20.  Applications received after November 20 will be added to a list, and may receive assistance, if enough donations are received.

Distribution days are scheduled for December 21, 22 and 23.  Volunteers are needed prior to distribution days to assist with packing the care packages.  On the days of distribution, volunteers will be needed to assist with carrying packages to vehicles.

Any person or group that is interested in volunteering to either ring bells at the kettle sites, assist with box packing, or distribution day, can contact the Salvation Army at (563)263-8272.