Red Kettle campaigns preparing to kick off - WNEM TV 5

Red Kettle campaigns preparing to kick off

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Salvation Army red kettle Salvation Army red kettle
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

It’s almost that time of year.

“It’s an iconic part of the season when you hear those bells and see that kettle,” Salvation Army Capt. Caleb Senn said.

Senn has been a captain for the Salvation Army for 12 years. He said the Red Kettle Campaign in Genesee County is always a massive undertaking, and that’s why they need help.

“I think people don’t always understand that not everyone out there is a volunteer. We thrive on our volunteers, we love our volunteers, and we need volunteers to help sustain us. But we also want to give people, ya know, a helping hand for the season who maybe aren’t employed, or are struggling looking for employment. So they have some employment that can be gainful as well," Senn said.

Jamie Stowe is in his fifth year working and volunteering for the Red Kettle Campaign.

And with 50 different kettle locations throughout Genesee County, he said he keeps busy.

“It makes me feel good, especially the thing I think is neat is hearing little kids come up and try to put money in. And I love trying to hand the bell to little 2-and-3-year old’s, and kids in general, because, when I was a kid, bell ringers would let me do it," Stowe said.

It is a fond childhood memory for Stowe and a chance to raise money in support of the community.

“It is our biggest fundraiser for the year, it started as just a fundraiser for a Christmas dinner in San Francisco many years ago and it spread nation-wide. And now it’s not just a fundraiser for Christmas, but for everything we do, 365 days of the year,” Senn said.

And don’t worry if you don’t have cash, you probably have your phone. Senn said that’s perfect because they run a text donation drive that is live year-round.

And if you are thinking about ringing a bell this year, Stowe has some advice.

“I would say go for it, do it, just make sure that you dress for the weather because it does get cold," Stowe said.

The 2017 campaign kicks off Friday, Nov. 10 and runs through Dec. 24. 

>>MORE: The Salvation Army in both Genesee and Midland Counties are looking to hire paid bell ringers for the season<<

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