• 73°

Give, volunteer for kettles

It’s one of the most recognizable signs of the holiday season in America, and yet very few of us know what the change dropped into the famous Red Kettles helps provide for those less fortunate.

Here in Suffolk, when you give to the Salvation Army, you’re supporting numerous programs. It’s not just toys for children — it’s food for seniors, electric bills for families who have hit hard times, summer camp for dozens of local children from disadvantaged families, a soup kitchen for the homeless, weekly church services, musical programs for youngsters and so much more.

And while the Salvation Army’s services are available all year round, the Red Kettles have become a ubiquitous symbol for helping the poor at the holidays, and they are one of the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraisers.

This year, the kettle program aims to raise almost as much money as last year, despite the closure of Farm Fresh stores that historically were strong collection locations.

You can find folks ringing the bells across Suffolk, Franklin and Smithfield Monday through Saturday at businesses like Walmart, Kroger, Food Lion and ABC stores. The collections will run through Christmas Eve.

If you’d like to help in a greater way than just dropping in some change, consider volunteering. Every hour a volunteer, rather than a paid employee, rings the bell puts food on the table for 13 people, according to the local Salvation Army.

Individuals can fundraiser 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.