Bells rang throughout the Original Farmers Market Monday evening during the Salvation Army’s annual “Kettle Kick-Off”, the launch of its holiday red kettle collection drive.
The Salvation Army hopes to raise $2 million for services for low-income individuals and families this year. The need for donations is as great as ever, according to Lt. Col Doug Riley, of the Salvation Army.
“The need keeps growing. People who used to give to us are now showing up in our lines needing help,” Riley said. “We just want to keep up with those needs. This is the start of our kettle program, and an opportunity for the public to share with us and the people we serve during Christmas.”
The Salvation Army’s Compton Corps Choir, with children ages 10 to 14, performed. Three members of the choir — Letricia Lega, 10, Felix Abel Haro, 14, and Cachet Benham, 12 — were also recognized as the “Bellringers of the Year”.
Salvation Army Volunteers will be stationed in front of shopping malls and department stores throughout the holiday season, ringing bells and requesting donations in the familiar red kettles. The Salvation Army is also partnering with Marine Toys for Tots to collect toys for needy children at kettle stations.
Ilysha Buss, marketing manager for the Original Farmers Market, said the “Kettle Kick-Off” is an important holiday tradition.
“The Christmas season is the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraising season, when they raise millions of dollars at all the shops in Southern California,” Buss said.
“The Farmers Market has a decades-old relationship with the Salvation Army, and we are pleased to partner with them throughout the years. They really are the heart strings of Southern California.”