Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 14, 2013

Salvation Army holds Christmas Kettle kickoff

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The Salvation Army kicked off its kettle campaign Thursday at Wal-Mart, amidst music, donations and donuts.

The Corsicana High School band performed, each member in little red Santa hats, as did the Salvation Army’s own Divisional Brass Band.

The red donation kettles are the primary fundraiser for the Salvation Army in Corsicana.

“This is our biggest and most important fundraiser of the year,” said Sgt. Toby Romack of the Salvation Army. “It’s what supports us through next summer.”

Last year, the kettle campaign raised $44,000 in Navarro County, and this year’s goal is $50,000, Romack said. The difficulty will be in the shorter amount of time. Because Thanksgiving comes so late in the month, it actually cuts down on the amount of time they’ll have kettles out in front of the Wal-Mart.

Most of the 12 kettle locations will start on Monday, but Wal-Mart’s will only begin after Thanksgiving.

Romack is hoping there will be enough support to make up for that smaller window. The city’s civic groups, Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis Club, for example, are competing to try to raise the most money, something they began last year.

“The Rotarians and Lions — it got heated last year,” Romack said, grinning.

The Army is also seeking more volunteers to ring bells at kettle sites this season. A normal bell-ringer shift is eight hours, but split between three or four people, it comes out to a couple of hours each, Romack said.

“We’re trying to get as many volunteers as we can so we don’t have to pay salaries to the bell ringers,” he said. “If we could have volunteers all across the board that would be wonderful. Then all the money could go back to the community.”

Although it’s most visible during the holiday season, coordinating holiday meals and Christmas presents for needy families, the Army works year-round providing a variety of services, including utility and rent assistance.

The first symbolic donation was made by Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan, who spoke beforehand praising the Army for its work.

“The Salvation Army does a great job meeting the physical needs of folks in our community but more than that they meet the spiritual needs, and that’s what I appreciate the most,” McClanahan said.

“This is very, very special and near and dear to my heart,” he said. “Christmas is the time of giving, and as we see the kettles let us remember to give back and be thankful.”

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com