Red Kettle Campaign is Salvation Army’s biggest fundraiser
By Sean Barron
Even though the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs just wrapped up and plenty of fall foliage can still be seen throughout the area, the fact remains that holidays are just around the corner.
And that means you will soon see and hear a familiar sight and sound: Salvation Army bell ringers.
“This is the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraiser,” Maj. Elijah O. Kahn said during Thursday morning’s 2016 Red Kettle Campaign kickoff breakfast at Quaker Steak & Lube, 435 Boardman-Poland Road.
Kahn, the agency’s Mahoning County area coordinator, urged people to think of others during the holidays who are less fortunate and drop donations in the kettles, which will be at many shopping centers around the region.
A goal of the campaign, themed “Here Comes the Kettles,” which gets underway Wednesday and runs through Dec. 24, is $350,000. The funds will be used to provide Christmas assistance as well as essential services for those in need year-round, Kahn noted, adding that all proceeds will stay in the Mahoning Valley.
For many, Christmas is a joyous time to be with loved ones, receive gifts and regale in holiday cheer. But the holidays can be the most stressful time of year for those who lack life’s basic necessities, he continued. Nevertheless, the Salvation Army provides “compassionate service to those who need it in the Mahoning Valley,” Kahn said.
“The organization helped my family out when I was a kid, which is something I’ve never forgotten,” recalled Jeff Muirhead, Quaker Steak & Lube’s general manager.
The Salvation Army’s assistance to Muirhead’s family when he was growing up in the Shenango Valley led to his desire to have his restaurant contribute to the agency’s fundraising, along with other local charitable efforts, he explained.
During the breakfast, Quaker Steak & Lube made a $1,000 donation to the campaign.
Along those lines, more than 40 corporate sponsors each year contribute to the effort, noted Bob Mastriana, architect with the Boardman-based 4M Co. and a Salvation Army board member. Mastriana also recognized and thanked various foundations for their financial assistance.
“This is a vital, vital campaign,” said Brad A. Walker, a Salvation Army board member, who noted that at least 50 corporate entities plan to donate to sponsor a kettle during the campaign.
Also at the gathering, Red Kettle Awards were given to Stifel Nicolaus Financial Corp., Komar Plumbing Co. Inc. and the C.S. Lewis Institute of Northeast Ohio for their ongoing philanthropy over several years.
Those interested in volunteering as bell ringers are asked to call Maj. Kahn at 330-270-5999.