An­nual Red Ket­tle project kicks off

The Tulsa-area Sal­va­tion Army sets $700,000 goal

Tulsa World - - Front Page - By Har­ri­son Grim­wood Har­ri­son Grim­wood 918-581-8369 har­ri­son.grim­wood @tul­ Twit­ter: @grim­wood_hmg

Sa­muel Folks put his hand out Fri­day to stop a full gro­cery cart from rolling away.

A woman had stopped with her gro­ceries. Folks was ring­ing a bell, and she dropped into his red ket­tle some spare cash. Folks snagged her cart as it rolled away. He did this as he greeted oth­ers walk­ing in and leav­ing Rea­sor's on Brook­side.

“Ev­ery year, peo­ple tell me how it (the Sal­va­tion Army) has helped them,” Folks said. “How it's helped their fam­ily have a reg­u­lar Christ­mas, how it's got­ten toys for the kids.”

Folks was ring­ing a bell for the start of the Sal­va­tion Army's Red Ket­tle Cam­paign. It's his 10th year to ring for the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Or is it the ninth? Folks said Fri­day he was not cer­tain whether he started in 2008 or 2009, just that he en­joys do­ing it.

This year, the Tul­saarea Sal­va­tion Army set a $700,000 goal to fund its year-round ef­forts, Area Com­man­der Maj. Mark How­ell said. The funds raised dur­ing this year's hol­i­day cam­paign will go to help 5,700 chil­dren and 2,600 fam­i­lies and se­nior cit­i­zens. The lo­cal Sal­va­tion Army serves 33,000 peo­ple an­nu­ally, Har­well said.

“It wouldn't feel like Christ­mas with­out the ring­ing bells,” Har­well said.

Jeff Rea­sor, CEO of the gro­cery chain, im­me­di­ately made a match­ing do­na­tion of up to $5,000 for any cash donated Fri­day. An­other busi­ness, Tulsa Gold & Sil­ver, donated $25,000 on Fri­day. Rea­sor said some peo­ple who ben­e­fit from the Sal­va­tion Army's char­ity are peo­ple “just look­ing for a meal.”

The Sal­va­tion Army Red Ket­tle Cam­paign has been an Amer­i­can tra­di­tion since 1891. The bell ring­ing be­gan Fri­day and will per­sist through Christ­mas Eve. The money goes to­ward a va­ri­ety of lo­cal ser­vices of­fered by The Sal­va­tion Army, in­clud­ing the food bas­kets for those in need around Christ­mas.

Har­well, dur­ing the kick­off event, in­tro­duced a small crowd to the Sal­va­tion Army's new mas­cot: a larger-than-life red shield fea­tur­ing a big smile and four-fin­gered hands cov­ered with white gloves.

The mas­cot has not yet been named, though. Area res­i­dents may vote for the new mas­cot's name on the lo­cal chap­ter's Face­book page, face­ salarmy­tulsa. Those who wish to vol­un­teer may visit the lo­cal chap­ter's web­site at salarmy­tulsa. org for de­tails.

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