Get ready to ring in the holidays.
The Salvation Army of Summit County’s annual Red Kettle Campaign has begun.
The campaign kicked off Friday at Acme stores and will expand to other locations across Summit County after Thanksgiving. The bells will keep ringing through Christmas Eve.
The effort raised $305,000 in 2017, an amount organizers hope to boost to $400,000 this year.
“That’s a pretty significant jump,” acknowledged Phillip Engle, the Salvation Army’s mission strategist for business.
To meet its goal, the Salvation Army hopes to recruit more volunteers to staff kettles at 53 spots across Summit County. Organizers are reaching out to service organizations, churches and schools to encourage them to participate.
The Salvation Army has employees who also serve as bell ringers, but the agency is able to put more money back into its programs with volunteers doing the ringing. Those programs include feeding the hungry, teaching children and providing gifts to kids at Christmas.
“We want to provide the best service at the minimal cost,” Engle said.
Jim Trout, president of Acme Fresh Market, is chairing this year’s kettle campaign. The kettle drive started in 12 Acme stores. The local grocery store chain also is aiding the effort by including a request for volunteers on emails sent out during the holidays.
The kettle drive officially began with a luncheon held Friday at Tangier.
The event included the awarding of the Salvation Army’s Community Medal to philanthropists Bill and Karen Feth. The Feths are longtime Salvation Army volunteers and supporters whose foundation funds nonprofit organizations in the fields of health sciences, education and Christian-based social services, including disaster relief.
“These people have exemplified what it means to care for the people the Salvation Army cares for,” Engle said.
To volunteer for the kettle campaign, call Engle at 330-434-7535 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Salvation Army and its programs, visit https://oh.salvationarmy.org/Akron-Summit.