PARKERSBURG - The red kettles of the Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps are still out collecting funds for Christmas.
"All of our kettles will be out until 5 or 6 p.m. this evening," said Lt. Mechelle Henry, pastor and commanding officer for the Corps.
Henry said they hope to raise several thousand more dollars before the kettles close up for the season.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Joseph Gallegos of Parkersburg rings a bell for the Salvation Army outside of the Grand Central Mall Monday. Gallegos, who said he has been a bell ringer off and on for the last eight years, said he rang the bell because 'it's a blessing helping people and I like meeting new people while I do this.' The annual kettle collections conclude today at 3 p.m.
"We are several thousands behind our goal for the year, but we are confident we can raise more," she said. "Even if the goal is not met, we are very appreciative of the support the community gives us throughout the year."
By Monday afternoon the program had raised more than $166,000 of the $175,000 goal.
There are two dozen kettle sites around the Mid-Ohio Valley with kettles, which have been out since Veterans Day, collecting loose change and other cash donations from shoppers. The sites include the Grand Central Mall, Foodland, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Sams Club.
The money collected during the drive will fund Christmas for families that include about 3,000 children throughout the Salvation Army's coverage region. The Corps aids families and individuals in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.
The red kettle money goes to purchasing a meal basket for each family as well as holiday gifts for children under the age of 12 whose cards were not taken from the Angel Trees by good samaritans.
The Angel Tree toy distribution was held Friday morning with the majority of the children on the trees having been adopted by community members. Those who were not adopted were provided for by the Salvation Army office.
Last year the Salvation Army Parkersburg Corps aided more than 1,000 families and more than 4,000 children with a boxed Christmas meal of ham and all of the sides along with toys and clothes for the kids.
Along with the Christmas programs, the remainder of funds collected through the red kettles will go toward the Salvation Army's other social service efforts, Henry said.
"We are the social organization that people turn to when they are having trouble paying utility bills, medical bills and even funeral services," she said. "We do what we can to help people from the cradle to the grave."