Common Staff Writer
The Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps, held its annual Red Kettle Kick-Off on Friday afternoon, in which members of the community gathered at the Portsmouth Kroger to start the season.
“We are kicking off our red kettle campaign today (Friday) for this year, which will run from today (Friday) to Christmas Eve,” said Lt. Mark Ferreira with the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps,
As apart of that celebration Portsmouth Mayor David Malone was put in the bucket of a fire truck and was not permitted to come down until $1,000 was raised.
Ferreira said the Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser and proceeds help fund various local activities and programs.
“We have had very successful campaigns over the last couple of years. We’ve been able to increase the amount of money we’ve been able to raise each year. Last year (2012) we raised just over $100,000 and this year we have set a goal of $101, 000,” Ferreira said.
In 2011 $87,000 was raised and in 2012 $101,500 was raised.
He said the Salvation Army is doing more than it ever has.
“We’re providing over a thousand meals a week (through a food pantry). We helped hundreds of people with food and toys for Christmas. We’ve got hundreds of families that we’re assisting on a regular basis and things just keep growing, because the need has not disappeared,” Ferreira said.
He said the Salvation Army will be helping over 300 children with toys for Christmas, which represents about 75 additional kids than last year.
“The demand for the services we offer is increasing as well. As people may be aware food stamps were just cut across the board this month. As a result we’ve seen a sharp spike in demand for food panty and community meals. There are more people than ever before coming to us for help,” Ferreira said. “People are in need, people do need that extra hand to get by. It so often it comes down to that extra boost to see people though difficult times and we are certainly still in difficult times.”
He said kettles will be set up all over Scioto and Pike Counties at major retailers and grocery stores.
“It’s important to note is that this year is a shorter season than we’ve had in a long time. So, we’re trying to raise more money in less time, we are really counting on support from the public to make that happen,” Ferreira said. “There is also an option to give online, onlineredkettle.org, is an opportunity for people to give online.”
For more information about the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps visit them on Facebook or call 740-353-2400.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.