Bright red kettles and cheery bell-ringers will soon take their place at area stores and offices as the 2015 Salvation Army holiday giving campaign kicks into gear.

The goal is to raise a total of $350,000 between the red kettles and donations. The reason that number is so high is because Racine-area families are still hurting, and the need is not diminishing.

“Many families are still finding it very hard to stay afloat, and we’ve seen it firsthand in the numbers of people coming to us for help,” said Major Ken Nicolai, head of the Racine office. “It’s especially hard during the holiday season, when so many of our neighbors don’t know how they’ll have the means to provide for their families. That’s why The Salvation Army looks to our community for their generosity: so we can show that same compassion and kindness to the less fortunate.”

For those who might not have extra money to give, Nicolai said volunteers are just as welcome. Bell ringers and help in the food pantry are always needed and appreciated, he added.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign got its start in 1891 in San Francisco when a Salvation Army captain despaired over how many citizens were going hungry during the holidays. He vowed to raise the money to feed the city’s poorest people by placing a pot at a landing at the wharf. It didn’t take long to collect the $1,000 needed, and the annual kettle campaign was born.

To volunteer this Christmas season, contact Marci Dilbeck at 262-632-3147.

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