Friday, November 12 officially kicked off the 'Bell Ringing' season for the Salvation Army in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.  In Lufkin, a ceremony was held at the Brookshire Brothers in Gaslight Plaza that included performances by the Central High School Band as well as presentations by members of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and Captain Cavon Phillips.

This year's kick off featured a friendly competition between Mayor Mize of Nacogdoches and Mayor Hicks of Lufkin to see who could raise the most funds on Friday morning.  Brookshire Brothers was also kind enough to match any money raised during the first two hours of the kick off.  Lufkin Coca Cola sent volunteers to ring the bells at the store.

Salvation Army red kettles will be again stationed outside of local stores and businesses Monday-Saturday from mid-November until Christmas Eve. “All bell ringers will be equipped with personal protective equipment again this Christmas season, ensuring the safety of donors and shoppers, along with our volunteers,” said Phillips. “With more individuals and families coming to us for help than ever before, please don’t forget to give to The Salvation Army red kettles this season.”

Last year, the Red Kettle campaign raised $73,000 in our area, this year's goal is $90,000.  Phillips mentioned that shoppers are more inclined to give to people that they know who have volunteered to ring the bell, as opposed to paid bell ringers.  Right now, the numbers of East Texans who have signed up to ring the bell this holiday season are way down.  Captain Phillips is asking that individuals, groups, civic organizations, churches and businesses please consider signing up to ring the bell. It's easy to volunteer, just go to the Register to Ring website.

Something new this year...how would you like to be a 'bell ringer' without ever leaving the house? The Red Kettle Challenge provides a new, online option to the traditional Red Kettles that raise funds supporting those in need.

“You will still see friendly bell ringers and Red Kettles at area store fronts and retailers,” said Captain Phillips of The Salvation Army. “However, the Red Kettle Challenge makes it easy for people to set up their own virtual kettles from the comfort of their own homes. You set your fundraising goal, share the link to your kettle with friends, family, and work colleagues, and challenge them to donate. This year has been difficult for many in our community, and you can be part of making a difference to ensure The Salvation Army has the necessary funds to help all year long.”

To take the Red Kettle Challenge and set up a virtual kettle, go to http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/Lufkin/. Select “Take the Red Kettle Challenge,” register as an individual or team, set a goal, and get to work promoting your kettle.

“Less people are carrying cash and visiting the mall and stores these days. A Virtual Kettle provides a great way for people to show their support for The Salvation Army without having to leave the house,” said Phillips. “Every dollar raised through the Red Kettle campaign makes it possible for us to provide shelter Challenge your friends, family and coworkers to support your online kettle and provide help and hope right here in Lufkin.”

Because of the ongoing challenges of COVID related issues, the need for help is greater than ever in the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area.  Please consider giving financially or volunteering your time.  This year's campaign theme is 'Hope Marches On'.

Salvation Army 2021 red kettle kick off