HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Tis' the holiday season for giving back, and a tradition that's been going strong for over 120 years kicked off at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown Friday afternoon.
It's the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
People came out to donate, listen to some Christmas carols and eat cookies.
Salvation Army representatives who were at the big kick off said their goal locally is to get $90 thousand by the end of the season, or December 24. The nation-wide goal is to collect $3 million.
"We have over 800 families in need this year which represents about 2,000 people. Women, children and families in need," said Washington County Sheriff, Doug Mullendore, who is also a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
All of the coins and dollars collected in the classic red kettles will be used to put meals on plates for local families who otherwise wouldn't have a holiday supper. Also to get toys for kids who might not necessarily get anything under a tree. And then there's the Salvation Army Angel Tree, which is another holiday tradition for the organization.
"Our angel tree...and on the angel tree you will see names of needy children in our community. These are actual kids in our community," said Major Dan Heard of the Salvation Army.
There are slips of paper attached to the tree with names of children in need. They include the child's name and age, as well as their clothing and shoe sizes. It's an easy way to "adopt a child" for the holiday season. said Major Heard.
Others, like the Shanks of Maugansville, have volunteered to ring the bell for the Red Kettle Campaign this season.
"The Salvation Army, I feel, does a good job helping those that are in need. So this is just a way that we can help the Salvation Army help others," said Jerry Shank of Maugansville. He's been ringing the bell for the Salvation Army for going on three years.
The Salvation Army is also backing a "Fill-the-Truck" campaign at Wal-Mart off of Garland Groh on November 30. They're going to be there all day collecting toys, and hopefully, filling a truck to make the holidays for local kids a little bit brighter.
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