The Kenosha Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, which kicked off Friday at Woodman’s, will feature more ways to give this season.
In addition to putting monetary donations in the traditional red kettles manned by bell ringers at 19 stores across the county, donations via electronic “canisters” and smartphone apps will be accepted.
“In a world where people don’t carry a lot of cash anymore, this provides a way for people to continue to donate, to give cheer and to give hope,” said Maj. Steven Woodard, of the Kenosha corps, at the kickoff event, which featured festive music by a Salvation Army brass ensemble.
The new electronic payment “canisters” at select locations, which includes Woodman’s, 7145 120th Ave., are preset to accept a $3 donation by inserting a credit or debit card.
Signs posted on red kettles at all locations include a QR code that allows people to make a donation via Google Pay or Apple Pay on a smartphone.
“We have a kettle goal of $135,000 this year,” said Capt. Marie Lewis of the Kenosha corps. “The more we can bring in, the more we can do for the community.”
Lewis said the Kenosha corps’ Red Kettle Campaign raised $130,000 last season, and an additional $70,000 was raised via a mail-in campaign.
“Eighty cents on the dollar goes back into the community,” Lewis said of the impact even a small donation can make.
Lewis said bell ringers are needed at all of the 19 locations, 12 of which are running now and the remainder of which will start operation after Thanksgiving.
“It is critical we have bell ringers at all of our locations,” Lewis said. “If we do, people stop and give.”
There are bell ringing opportunities Monday through Saturday. There is no bell ringing on Sundays or on Thanksgiving Day.
To volunteer, people can visit www.kenoshabells.com and choose a two-hour time slot that works best for them at the posted locations. Or they can call 262-564-0286.
There are also opportunities for businesses and organizations to sponsor a kettle.
Lewis said the Kenosha corps of the Salvation Army, formed in 1890, provides service to 1,500 people per month in Kenosha County, 450 of whom, on average, receive goods from the food pantry.