The bell-ringing season has officially begun.
Last week the Salvation Army in Elkhart kicked off the holiday season with its famous Christmas kettle fundraising campaign. Their goal this year is to raise $100,000 from the kettles throughout Elkhart and an additional $350,000 from other community donations.
In the week that they have been out, the kettles have collected more than $3,000.
Fifty percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget is raised during the bell-ringing season, making it the biggest fundraising event of the year. Funds will be especially important this year, as the number of Elkhart residents seeking assistance from the Salvation Army has increased significantly, said Major Steven Woodard.
Last year the Elkhart kettles raised $90,000, which, combined with other holiday donations, totaled $425,000. This year, however, the Salvation Army would like to raise more.
The Elkhart kettle campaign ends on Christmas Eve around 3 p.m.
The Goshen Corps of the Salvation Army will begin its Christmas kettle fundraising the day after Thanksgiving. The campaign will run through Christmas Eve.
The Goshen Salvation Army hopes to raise $50,000 through the kettles this year, which will be in various locations in the Goshen area.
One will be located at the Walmart Supercenter, 2304 Lincolnway E. and another at the Walmart in Dunlap, 4024 Elkhart Road. Kettles will also be at the Kroger, 209 Chicago Ave., and the Walgreens stores at 429 W. Pike St., 1755 Lincolnway E. and 4430 Elkhart Road.
The Goshen Corps is still in need of volunteer bell-ringers. Those interested may call the Salvation Army at 533-9584 to set up a date, time and location.
Another staple of the holiday season is the Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance programs. It’s not too late to apply for the Adopt-A-Family and Toys for Tots programs.
The Elkhart Salvation Army is still accepting applications for Adopt a Family through Dec. 3. The well-known program matches low-income families with sponsors who provide a Christmas meal, toys and household items for the holiday.
They are also accepting applications for Toys for Tots, a program that distributes new toys to children in the community who are less fortunate. Applicants who are not selected for the Adopt-A-Family program are typically re-directed to Toys for Tots.
Elkhart applicants may apply for Christmas assistance programs on Monday, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3.
The Elkhart Salvation Army is located at 300 N. Main St.
If you go
What: Goshen Salvation Army’s 49th annual Pancake Day
When: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.
Where: Goshen Corps building, 1013 N. Main St., Goshen
Tickets: $6 at the door
The details: Guests will be offered an all-you-can-eat meal of pancakes and sausage. Proceeds from Pancake Day helps the Salvation Army serve area families that have nutritional, medical, utility and housing needs.