PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - The Salvation Army prepares to start their Red Kettle season earlier than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic as the first week starts Friday.
The annual Red Kettle Campaign usually begins after Thanksgiving but because of COVID-19, The Salvation Army of Laurel and The Salvation Army of Hattiesburg will be taking measures to encourage social distancing among bell ringers and donators this year.
The Salvation Army of Hattiesburg has decided to have their Red Kettle Campaign to be mainly digital starting Friday, Nov. 13, as donations can now be given at the register during checkout at local stores and online at HattiesburgKettle.org. Some traditional kettles may found at some stores but they will be short in number.
In Laurel, traditional bell ringers will still be active for their Red Kettle Campaign, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, each kettle this year will have a contactless donation option through a QR code.
Laurel’s digital kettle is available now at LaurelKettle.org, along with being able to make donations during checkout at a local store.
Red Kettle Campaign donations help The Salvation Army with many things as whatever is given goes towards toys for kids, shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, services for the young and old and other social service programs throughout the year.
Last year, Hattiesburg’s campaign raised $98,000 in order to help 3,142 people, while Laurel’s campaign raised $87,000, as the donations were able to prepare The Salvation Army in both locations to provide help to 3,142 people that came to them in need throughout the year with 21,302 meals, 11,409 nights of shelter and more.
Both Salvation Army locations have made new kettle goals that they are achieving to reach this year, as Hattiesburg looks to reach $115,000 while Laurel is looking for $90,000.
In a joint statement, The Salvation Army of Hattiesburg Corps Officer Capt. Brian Hicks and The Salvation Army of Laurel Corps Officer Maj. Raymond Pruitt expressed how important the annual campaign is for each location in their communities.
“Kettle season is The Salvation Army’s largest annual campaign. Funds received this season make or break our ability to fund our feeding and sheltering program,” said the corps leaders. “We are excited to kick off the Christmas season and look forward to your support in helping us reach our goal[s] to make this year a success for our neighbors in need.”
To support The Salvation Army in Laurel and Hattiesburg you can visit their websites listed below, and for more information on Red Kettle Season and how the two locations are serving in their communities, contact Capt. Hicks at (601) 544-3684 for Hattiesburg, or contact Maj. Pruitt at (601) 428-4323.