Salvation Army kicks off statewide kettle campaign

8 years ago

HOULTON, Maine  — The Salvation Army kicked off its annual Christmas Kettle Effort when Governor Paul R. LePage brought greetings in a brief ceremony at the Statehouse in Augusta.

A Salvation Army Brass Ensemble was also part of the festivities playing holiday carols. The charitable organization expects to have more than 130 red kettles throughout the state on street corners and in shopping areas through Dec. 24.

“For 125 years, Salvation Army red kettles around the world have been linked to the Christmas season and to compassion for the needy,” Gov. LePage said in a press release. “The heart of Maine beats especially strong this time of year.  Mainers are generous people known to help our neighbors, and the kettle campaign is one way to help those who need it most.”

However, they provide much more than atmosphere and nostalgia during the Christmas season.  Last year, funds donated at these kettles enabled The Salvation Army to provide services and programs to 50,604 men, women and children statewide during the holidays and throughout the year. The Salvation Army provided food, clothing, utilities and emergency disaster aid.   Also, children were provided the opportunity to attend The Salvation Army’s Camp Sebago.

 There are nine Salvation Army Corps (facilities) in Maine that offer services and programs for children, adults and seniors. They are Bangor, Capital Region (Augusta and Waterville communities), Bath, Houlton, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Rockland and Sanford.

Also, The Salvation Army serves those in need in 91 other communities through volunteers at its service units.
The annual campaign began Friday, Nov. 20. Kettles will once again be located outside of Walmart in both Presque Isle and Houlton, as well as many grocery stores in the Presque Isle, Houlton and Caribou areas. For every $1 donated into the kettle, about 90 cents goes to the local community.

For holiday gifts, the Salvation Army traditionally places “Angel Trees” at Walmart and Mardens in Presque Isle and Houlton. An Angel Tree is a Christmas tree filled with tags bearing the age and sex of a child or parent, along with a suggested item for people to purchase. Those wanting to help with presents may take the tag off the tree, purchase the gift, and drop it off with the tag to the Salvation Army headquarters or Thrift Stores.

 Finding people to volunteer their time as bell ringers is always a challenge. Those interested in volunteering to ring the bell should contact Lts. Dominic and Elizabeth Nicoll at the Houlton office at 532-2322 or by email at Dominic.Nicoll@use.salvationarmy.org.

Those who are unable to make it to one of the Salvation Army’s kettles, may donate online by visiting www.onlineredkettle.org.