Ring-a them bells
It's that time again. The bell ringers are here.
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit hopes to raise $7.8 million with its annual Red Kettle Campaign. The campaign goal is slightly lower than previous years in recognition of the area's economic distress, said Major John Turner, general secretary for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.
This year, there are several innovative ways to donate. You can go online at The Salvation Army's web site. You can set up an online kettle and then email donation requests to everyone you know. And for the first time you can attach your online kettle to your Facebook page – create a contest among your pals and use those status updates wisely!
The Facebook application will allow your goal, progress and Online Red Kettle link to appear on your Facebook profile. Once someone makes a donation via Facebook, a notification will show in your newsfeed. As a Facebook addict, I'm all in. My goal is to raise $150 to help fund meals on the Bed and Bread trucks.
“With an increased need of 60 percent (in Salvation Army services), we wanted to pull out all the stops to make it as easy as possible for people of all ages to donate to the Red Kettle Campaign,” Turner said.
The coolest 2009 innovation may be the credit-card pilot program for The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County. Yup, the Kettle is going high tech.
TSA-WC will kick off its Red Kettle Campaign today at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor with a giant 6-foot-tall kettle. There will be three credit card machines attached to the kettles in Briarwood and one at Sam's Club in Ypsilanti during the entire campaign, said Nikki Stephan, a representative from The Salvation Army's elves (also known as Franco Public Relations Group).
“More and more people prefer to carry cards rather than cash these days, so we're hoping these machines provide a more convenient and safe way for people to donate to the campaign,” Stephan said.
Of course, the traditional ways remain. You can call The Salvation Army at 877-SAL-MICH or look for the bell ringers, who will collect donations at more than 300 kettles at retailers and businesses in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
The ringers are both Salvation Army workers and volunteers. It is easy to get involved – you can sign up online for one of 50,000 two-hour shifts needed to cover the whole campaign, which runs through Dec. 24. They'll even send you a confirmation email beforehand to make sure you remind you to get out there and ring.
If you're something memorable to do tonight…check out kickoff event, featuring the lighting of the World's Tallest Red Kettle. It is 56 feet tall, 24 feet wide and lit by 25,000 lights. Meet at 6 p.m. tonight at Campus Martius Park just before the city of Detroit's lighting of its holiday tree.
The gauntlet is down. Let's fill those kettles.