WINCHESTER — Members of the Salvation Army’s National Capital Band kicked off the Winchester-area Red Kettle campaign Thursday afternoon at the Apple Blossom Mall.
The four musicians were dressed in the essential red uniform of the international non-profit association.
The Winchester Salvation Army is entering a critical fundraising period and has set a goal to raise $75,000 over the next five weeks.
People can either deposit money into one of the kettles stationed in the community or donate to a virtual red kettle.
“You can help us raise funds without even having to stand out in the cold,” said Winchester Salvation Army Captain John Blevins Jr.
Volunteer bell ringers, along with a few paid staff, will be at the kettles placed in locations frequented by shoppers. Randy Moore will be at the main entrance to Apple Blossom Mall frequently over the next five weeks.
” This is a good thing. It basically means helping out, raising money for people who might not have certain things,” Moore said.
Financial aid, family aid and youth aid are the cornerstones of the local operation of the Salvation Army. Donations received during the holiday season are used to fund Winchester Salvation Army programs throughout the year.
Proceeds from the Red Kettle campaign will help people in need with temporary housing, food and other forms of assistance.
The local Salvation Army operates a 48-bed family shelter at 300 Fort Collier Road.
This year’s fundraising goal of $75,000 matches last year’s goal.
So far, the local Salvation Army has successfully completed 542 hours of ringing, about a quarter of the time it hopes to record. Volunteers are still needed.
“Volunteers and paid ringers have been difficult to recruit. Many of our volunteers are older citizens, so COVID has been especially hard on them,” Blevins said.
Currently, he has four paid bell ringers, and if more volunteers don’t materialize, he will need six or seven a day.
“If we don’t have enough volunteers, we may not be able to manage certain locations. That’s why volunteers are really important, and that’s our biggest need right now,” Blevins said.
Those interested in volunteering can contact: www.registertoring.com.
The official launch of the Red Kettle campaign was capped off with several speeches from community members, including Frederick County Board of Supervisors Judith McCann-Slaughter, who represents the Stonewall Magistrate District where the shelter is located. Salvation Army.
“I just want to say, ‘Keep the pot ringing,'” Slaughter said. “It’s a great tradition, and I’m lucky to be part of it. Salvation Army stewards work hard every day to fulfill their mission.
Starting Saturday, red kettles and bell ringers will be stationed at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Apple Blossom Mall and, on weekends, Loudoun Street Mall in downtown Winchester.
The fundraising effort ends on December 24.
The Salvation Army has been active since 1865, when it was started by a Reformed Methodist Church minister in London’s East End, according to online reports. The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church and charity.
To make a virtual donation, go to salutarmypotomac.org/winchestervacorps/ and click on the red kettle.