Brenda Hackley is no stranger to standing in the cold and ringing a small red bell. She’s been doing it for four years and her place of choice is outside Safeway.
“I don’t mind the chill,” she chuckled last Thursday as the Salvation Army kicked off their annual Red Kettle campaign.
“A lot of my friends know that this is my spot and they’ll let me know if they miss me,” she said as she prepared to stand her post for a five hour shift.
From its humble beginnings as a local San Francisco fundraiser featuring a single crab pot in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States.
Each year, more than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers spread throughout the country from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve to ring bells and solicit spare change and other donations from holiday shoppers.
The Red Kettle Campaign helps the Army serve more than 3 million people in need during the Christmas season – including nearly 1 million children – and serves more than 25 million individuals throughout the year.
Lt. Jared Martin is at the helm of the Culpeper and Warrenton Salvation Army. He thanked those who turned out for the first donations in front of Safeway.Always with a smile, Martin stressed that all money raised from the Red Kettles will stay in the communities where it is collected.
“Give until it helps,” urged Martin. “Put in a dollar and then when you see another kettle, put in another dollar.”
Chiming through Christmas Eve, look for ringers at Safeway, Giant, Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx, Big Lots and Walgreens. All three Union Banks in Culpeper County will host Angel Trees.
Those who wish to volunteer to ring bells may call 540-349-8076 or write Melissa.Dargis@uss.salvationarmy.org.