Salvation Army kicks off Red Kettle season

Published 5:14 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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The holiday season of giving has officially kicked off. The Salvation Army of Suffolk held their 2023 Red Kettle Kick Off to officially start their Cheer Fund, Toys for Tots and Angel Tree programs on Friday, Nov. 3, at their headquarters located at 400 Bank St. City officials and Salvation Army officials alike joined together to continue their efforts to promote holiday charity programs to support the families and children of Suffolk.

Following Suffolk Salvation Army Board Chair Greg Crow’s opening ceremony, Commonwealth Attorney and Suffolk Salvation Army Board Member Narendra Pleas talked about how important the Red Kettle program is for giving back to the community.

“Fundraising through the Red Kettle helps us to kick start our yearly planning. It’s really where a lot of the funds for the budget come from for the year,” Pleas said. “It’s very symbolic of the Salvation Army, every time you go in and out of the store, around this time of year, you see someone outside of the Red Kettle and that bell … I volunteered for this particular mission last year and I was very pleased that there were people who kept money in their car just for the particular purpose of being able to give to the Red Kettle at this time of year.”

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Speaking on the Salvation Army’s efforts through their Angel Tree, Toys for Tots and Cheer Fund programs to support families and their children during the holiday season, Pleas assured those giving to the Suffolk Salvation Army that their contributions will be used for that specific Salvation Army.

“If you’re wondering, ‘If I give my dollar to the Salvation Army, it’s going somewhere else, so I shouldn’t give.’ Fortunately, for the Salvation Army, when you give locally, your dollars stay local, so they don’t go to other areas,” she said. “When you know of a child that’s receiving from the local Salvation Army, those are your dollars that helped to help that child or that family.”

Following the ribbon cutting, Suffolk Salvation Army Officers Captains Kelsey and Johnathan Meredith talked about how important it was to bring people together for the ceremony.

“It’s wonderful to bring everyone together to start the kettle season and it’s a great reminder of everything that’s to come,” Johnathan said.

“It’s amazing to see all the community leaders coming together to celebrate the Christmas season; To kick off Angel Tree, Kettles, Cheer Fund and Toys for Tots program,” Kelsey said. “It’s a blessing to see everybody coming together just to support the need in our community, but also [to] just celebrate the fact that we’re in 2023 and we continue to do great things in this community.”

Kelsey Meredith says residents wanting to give back via Angel Tree can adopt an angel on Salvation Army trees, visiting the Salvation Army office, or by going online to their Facebook page. Residents can also visit the office for a Toys for Tots box or register to volunteer as a bell ringer. Those interested in ringing can also go to On what they want others to take away from the ceremony, the Merediths emphasized their hope to give what they can as well as their own efforts to help the community.

“We just encourage people to give what they can to better support the community and we just ask that whatever you can give that you would give this Christmas season so that we can continue to do the most good 365 days a year,” Kelsey said.

“The kettle season has begun and we are going to be out in the community so that we can continue what we’ve been doing into the new year,” Johnathan said. 

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