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Ring the bell, help a family

The Salvation Army on Thursday kicked off its Red Kettle Campaign with a fundraising goal made possible by both volunteer and donor support.

The Red Kettle Campaign is a major fundraising event that brings in support for year-round programs and services. Donations stay local and impact the lives of people in need within the very same communities.

“Thanks to the support of donors and corporate partners, the money raised will help the Salvation Army provide food, utility assistance and social services to people who come to us in crisis, often at the very worst times of their life,” Capt. Johnny Anthony of the Salvation Army Suffolk Corps stated in a press release.

Volunteers can be found at Red Kettles across Suffolk, Franklin and Smithfield from Monday through Saturday. They will be at businesses such as Walmart, Kroger, Food Lion and ABC stores. This collection will run through Christmas Eve.

Last year, the Salvation Army raised $111,000, and the goal this season is to raise $108,000. This may be difficult considering Farm Fresh went out of business, removing several collection spots between the three localities that totaled roughly $25,000 raised annually, Anthony said.

The plan is to offset that loss with sponsorships — about $4,000 as of Tuesday, he said — and more volunteers. According to the press release, every volunteer hour of bell-ringing helps put food on the table for 13 people.

“We’re trying to raise awareness for volunteering this year to help us out,” he said.

Individuals can fundraise for the Salvation Army by visiting FundraiseForGood.org. Volunteers can sign up to ring a bell or find out more information by calling 539-5201 or visiting virginiasalvationarmy.org/suffolkvacorp.