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Salvation Army Bell Ringers are Canvassing Shopping Centers to Raise Millions for the Red Kettle

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 03 Dec 2012 10:12am | comments

The Mississippi Salvation Army aims to raise millions of dollars this year through its annual  Red Kettle Campaign.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on their efforts and explains why the money is so needed.


Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season one familiar tune always shines through.  It's the sound of the Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell ringers. Salvation Army Regional Communications Director, Mark Jones, says the Red Kettle program is a big part of the organization’s annual bottom line. 


" And the goal throughout Mississippi is to raise over 3 million dollars to meet the needs of Mississippi residents throughout the year. With utility assistance, sometimes rent and mortgage assistance after school programs, summer camp programs for  underprivileged children at our camp  in Lexington Mississippi. So these funds are vitally important throughout the year."


The money collected through red kettles across the state also help support Christmas baskets, food pantries even clothing closets. But Janet Spear, Development Director for the Salvation Army of Central Mississippi says the organization is also trying to teach people how to break the since of entitlement that many have struggled with for generations.


"Where they've lived from grandmother to mother to daughter and it's transitioned into a situation to where people don't know how to use resources anymore. And so even starting at a very young age teach them not only tutorial, but character building, physical exercise, nutrition understanding  so that they can grow into a new mindset of learning how to take care of themselves." 


Over the past year the Mississippi Salvation Army has seen a 38% increase in the number of people needing their services. Bell ringer Sheila Hayward of Florence says she finds personal satisfaction in helping raise funds for those in need.


"  You have like a lot of families who are being displaced by fires who don't have a job. They don't have anywhere to stay so it's not only benefiting me its benefiting me also."


In addition to the red kettle campaign the Salvation Army also accepts online donations.  Lawayne Childrey MPB News.




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