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Filling red kettles an excellent cause

There's no doubt about it.

It's that time of the year again.

You walk into a place of business and you hear that familiar ring, ring, ring.

At first it catches you a little off guard, but that surprise is quickly diminished by the realization that it's the volunteers manning the ever-familiar red Salvation Army campaign kettles.

Throughout our communities, it's common knowledge that the Salvation Army, active the last century, is one of the most endearing nonprofit organizations, always there for the less fortunate men, women and children, not only during the holiday season but each and every day of the year, highly visible as the need for their service and caring arises.

The ongoing role of the organization is to provide assistance to the needy in the form of monetary assistance, a meals program, food baskets, travel aid, and emergency disaster assistance.

This time of the year their name is synonymous with the little red kettles established at a variety of locations to accept donations to support their services all-year long that will ultimately go a long way in enhancing the quality of life for many of our community neighbors.

On that note, as I was out and about this last weekend to shop for the Thanksgiving holiday, I was taken aback in a very good way by the sound of that familiar bell.

The first thought it conjured up was how 'thankful' we should all feel to be able to walk into a place of business and have the ability to purchase items when many others don't presently have the economic means to do so; and secondly, the least any of us can do is lend a hand in supporting those less fortunate by contributing whatever we can, wherever we can, whether it's helping fill the red kettles or providing groceries to various causes in order to stock local food pantries to feed the hungry.

With 31 Kettle Campaign sites across the entire metro area, it's important that we do all we can to fill them to the brim in order to meet the annual goal.

Did you know that spare change dropped in the kettles every holiday season accounts for about half of the funds received each year by the Salvation Army? So all those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters you pull out of your pocket and drop in really do play a huge role in the scheme of things.

No matter what the contribution, whether you are donating monetarily to the cause or volunteering yourself, nothing feels better at the end of the day than knowing you've played a part in making someone, anyone, feel less burdened by anything you can do to make their load lighter.

It's even more meaningful this time of the year, with the holidays fast approaching, and the needs even more prevalent.

So when you are out and about the next several weeks and you hear that ominous little bell ringing and you see the smiling, cordial faces of the volunteers donating their time, reach in deep and give as much as you can. When all is said and done, a little bit given by many will go a long way in positively impacting a person or family in need.

On a related note, kudos to the extraordinary effort of Fill The Dome organizers, sponsors, and participants, who raised a record breaking $96,000 and collected 97 tons of food for the local food pantries. See related story in today's paper.