The familiar Salvation Army’s Red Kettle volunteers begin ringing for dollars Monday at nearly 40 collection sites at grocery stores and shopping centers around the county.
The funds raised stay in the community by supporting local Salvation Army programs, said Maj. Elijah O. Kahn, who, with his wife, Maj. Valerie Kahn, are coordinators of the Mahoning County Service Area.
“When you see a red kettle, stop and make a generous donation,” Maj. Elijah Kahn urged community members at Thursday’s 2012 Red Kettle campaign kickoff breakfast at Quaker Steak & Lube, 435 Boardman-Poland Road.
Volunteers staff the familiar red kettles from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays beginning Monday through Christmas Eve.
The 2012 campaign goal is $305,000, up $5,000 from 2011, when the campaign exceeded its goal by raising $343,000. “We hope to exceed this year’s goal also,” Maj. Kahn said.
The bell ringers and kettles raise important dollars, especially during tough econ- omic times, to help vulnerable families through Salvation Army services, said David Coy, chairman of the organization’s advisory board.
The Red Kettle campaign has become the symbol of good will and the spirit of giving at Christmas time, said Robert Mastriana, chairman of the advisory board’s Christmas committee.
Doreen Sahli, general manager the Boardman Quaker Steak & Lube, one of the campaign’s corporate sponsors, donated $1,000 on behalf of her organization and also provided Thursday’s breakfast for other corporate sponsors and Salvation Army leaders and volunteers.
“It is our hope that Quaker Steak & Lube’s donation will challenge other businesses in the community to give and get involved with The Salvation Army,” said Sahli, 2012 honorary chairwoman.
Maj. Elijah Kahn said the campaign is the Salvation Army’s single-largest fundraising event in Mahoning County.
“We have a big job to do this Christmas, but we think we can make at least the $305,000 goal,” he added.