By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The Starkville chapter of the Salvation Army began its Christmas Red Kettle Campaign this morning at the entrance of Walmart in Starkville. Minister Peter Austin Jr. was on hand to perform the blessing. Peter is the son of Debra Austin, who was also in attendance as board member. Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen appeared as a special guest.
“I’ve been a board member for eight years, and I really enjoy coordinating the Annual Christmas Red Kettle Campaign,” Debra Austin said. “Helping others in need who can’t repay is what motivates me in doing the most good for our community.”
Director Betty “B.J.” Andol said she would like to thank all of the businesses, groups, churches and individuals that have signed up to help ring the bells this Christmas season.
“The red kettle drive in Starkville is 100 percent volunteer — we have no paid bell ringers,” Andol said. “Without the help of our community, we would not be able to do this.”
According to its website, the Salvation Army red kettles have been an American tradition since 1891, helping raise financial support for critical Salvation Army programs and services year round. This year, the campaign is making it possible for interested parties to host their own red kettle online.
There are various ways individuals or groups can get involved. An individual kettle can be started as a personal online kettle where one can invite others to donate. For a family or group of friends, the team kettle consists of multiple individually hosted kettles, and all the money collected from each kettle is combined on the team’s kettle page.
If a business wants to get involved, the website says a company kettle can be created, consisting of multiple team kettles. Funds raised by each team within the company kettle are combined and reflected on the company kettle page. Individual kettles can also directly join and fundraise for a company kettle without being a part of a team.
There is no fee to participate, and all donations will receive an email confirmation that can be printed for tax purposes.
Captain Frank Nichols of the Starkville Police Department was one of the first bell ringers this morning. Nichols said he was happy to help such a deserving organization.
For more information, please visit http://www.salvationarmyusa.org .