Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign kicks off

With the kickoff comes a new way to donate with a credit card.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Northeast Florida Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign kicked off Friday, although the kettles and bell ringers won’t out until Nov. 29. They will appear at a number of select stores across our region, including Publix, Walmart, JC Penney, Winn Dixie and Hobby Lobby.

The group wants everyone to know that you will be able to give this year even if you don’t have cash to drop in the kettle. This year, the Salvation Army is accepting credit card donations. All you need to have with you is your cell phone with a working camera and the volunteers will be able to walk donors through the process.

“We have a QR code. It will focus on that and it opens up our applications to make that donation,” Nicholas said. “It works perfectly and we’re ready to offer that option," program coordinator Rosa Nicholas said.

However you donate, the money you give helps in many ways.

“It makes all the difference for families that come to the Salvation Army needing assistance, whether it’s in the form of food, whether it’s in the form of charity assistance, whether it’s in the form of clothing, or whether it’s in the form of shelter," said Maj. Keith Biggers, area commander. "The Salvation Army is 365 days a year, 24 hours a day meeting needs. We’re so dependent upon the forms that are raised through our red kettles.”

The iconic sound of the bell is not only the ringing of the season, it’s also the sound of fellowship and a time of year Salvation Army volunteers always look forward to.

“This is their big moment to give back,” Nicholas said. “It is a service that they like to do. They know the impact that it makes on the families and the community in Jacksonville.”

With the Salvation Army’s 22 core programs, each dollar the kettle campaign raises goes a long way. The campaign brought in more than $500,000 last year. The group is striving for that again this year.

“Whenever you’re coming out and dropping $1, $5, whatever you choose to drop into that kettle, that is what we use to fund these programs,” Nicholas said.

The bells will officially start ringing the day after Thanksgiving and will last through 2 p.m. Christmas Eve. Until then, there are still many ways you can give back through the charity. The Salvation Army is also collecting canned goods, and setting up a toy shop for families in need. Donations can be dropped off at 900 West Adams Street.

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