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Red kettle volunteers jingling for the jingle

A young donor makes a contribution at a kettle tended by Salvation Army Lt. Elisa Lyles. A young donor makes a contribution at a kettle tended by Salvation Army Lt. Elisa Lyles.

Salvation Army Capt. Chris Lyles says people might not realize the difference they’re making when they make a donation at a red kettle at Christmas.

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“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Lyles says of the Army’s red kettle campaign, which this year has a goal of $100,000. “Every little bit of pocket change here and there really helps change lives. You really don’t know how big an effect it has on kids because they get food or they get a Christmas gift. It really has a huge impact on the community, on at-risk youth. It helps families stay warm and safe in their homes, it provides Christmas for them and safeguards the wellbeing of our community.”

RedKettle3Salvation Army volunteers Jack Beatty (left) and Ed Joran hold a chart showing the fundraising total Henderson County’s mayors predicted for this year’s red kettle campaign. The tradition does back to 1891, when a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco “found a big pot and set it out at the Oakland ferry landing. Since then it has spread not only across the United States but across the entire world,” Lyles says. By Dec. 11, the Salvation Army will have 18 sites in operation here, with bundled up volunteers ringing a bell from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Dec. 23.