The Salvation Army of Cameron County is getting ready for its annual holiday season fundraiser.
The Red Kettle Campaign is its biggest fundraising event of the year, and all proceeds support year-round programs and emergency assistance for those in need.
This year, The Salvation Army has a new way of getting people involved in the campaign.
“You will still see friendly bell ringers and Red Kettles at area store fronts and retailers,” said Major Ernest Lozano, Corps Officer of The Salvation Army.
“However, we are issuing the Red Kettle Challenge in our community to step up the efforts to help families who are homeless or struggling to make ends meet. This year has been difficult for many in our community,” he said.
To register for the Red Kettle Challenge, people can go to www.salvationarmytexas.org/Harlingen/. Then, select “Take The Challenge,” and register to help promote the campaign.
“With ongoing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, the Red Kettle Challenge provides a way for people to show their support for The Salvation Army and the many we help, without having to leave the house,” Lozano said.
“Challenge your friends, family and coworkers to support your online kettle and help Rescue Christmas right here in Cameron County,” he said.
Salvation Army red kettles will be again stationed outside of local stores and businesses from Monday to Saturday starting in mid-November until Christmas Eve.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in addition to the implementation of basic safety procedures, all bell ringers will also be provided with daily PPE safety kits, including a branded mask, disposable gloves, apron and disinfectant.
Strict safety protocols have been developed to ensure the health and safety of all potential donors and bell ringers, according to Lozano.
“All bell ringers will be equipped with personal protective equipment this Christmas season, ensuring the safety of donors and shoppers, along with our volunteers,” Lozano said.
According to a press release, in 2019, The Salvation Army of Cameron County raised $93,000 in kettles.
This year’s goal is $100,000.
For the organization, volunteers are crucial for the success of the Red Kettle campaign.
Lozano said The Salvation Army needs volunteer bell ringers from Nov. 2 to Dec. 24, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
“This year, signing up and volunteering as a bell ringer is easier than ever,” Lozano said. “Go to www.RegisterToRing.com and simply select the location, date and time you would like to ring. You can split a shift with a friend or sign up as a group. Individuals, families, groups of friends or co-workers, and church groups are welcome.”
The Salvation Army in Harlingen will also provide gifts to 345 children this year and is seeking volunteers to help manage Angel Tree locations. Volunteers will help sort and distribute gifts to program participants.
In addition, the food pantry is seeking five volunteers to sign up for two to three hours each day during the holiday season.
The Salvation Army of Cameron County covers Brownsville, Los Fresnos, Harlingen and San Benito.
“Our goal is to help those most in need in the community and the only way we can do that is with the support of our local donors,” Lozano said.