BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) - One hundred twenty five years ago, a Salvation Army captain worried how best to feed the poor in San Francisco during the Christmas season. He eventually came up with the idea of a big kettle for passers-by to drop coins in. So began the 'Red Kettle Campaign.' The 2016 fundraiser begins here in Bay County this weekend but volunteers are needed. Details on how you can help in this week's Problem Solver.
The Salvation Army depends on its Red Kettle Campaign for an important source of revenue each Christmas season. Major Otis Childs, Panama City Corps Officer, says, "the funds collected from the Red Kettle Campaign go to assist families that come to us for assistance. We desperately needs these funds...we need them to help support these families. We need the assistance really of people in the community." Major Childs says money brought in can add up to seventy percent of the Salvation Army's total annual income to provide food, clothing, furnishings and shelter.
If you are open to donating some of your time, maybe just an hour, it can make difference to helping the Red Kettle team of volunteers at Panama City Mall and other locations throughout Bay County. Some of us from News 13 have even joined in over the years ringing the bells to help out. Pennies, quarters and of course dollars all add up to make a successful campaign. It is not too late to take part in the campaign, "right now we are signing up volunteers and we would love to have any churches, civic groups, schools or clubs that kind of thing... to just give us a call and we can discuss some dates and times and get them signed up," says Major Childs.
The Bay County Red Kettle Campaign starts this coming Saturday, November 19th. And keep in mind, The Salvation Army also provides the annual food and toy distribution in December for needy families who qualify. It is based on family income. You can get more information on these services by calling The Salvation Army at 769-5259.