Editorial: Hear the ringing of the Salvation Army bells, heed the call

The Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign began in 1891 as a modest fundraiser by Salvation Army Capt. Joseph McFee in San Francisco. In the years since, it has grown to raise millions of dollars each year for the nonprofit organization.

Red Kettle drives are held in towns throughout the United States. Their reach extends to countries such as Chile, China, Japan and many countries in Europe. The Salvation Army in Dalton has been a proud participant in the Red Kettle drive for decades.

The Dalton Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign kicked off Nov. 20 at the group's headquarters off Thornton Avenue. You'll see plenty of the familiar red kettles accompanied by bell-ringers outside of retail and grocery stores Whitfield, Murray and Gordon counties.

The campaign is simple. As the volunteers ring their bell, passers-by drop change, bills or checks into the kettle. Also, on each kettle stand are markers where people can donate digitally by scanning a QR code with their phones.

That money is then used to fund programs in the community throughout the year. The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army's largest fundraiser of the year. Any and all contributions make a big difference for the families in the community.

Volunteers are needed for shifts throughout the week. If you would like to volunteer to ring the bell at any of the participating locations, you can sign up at RegisterToRing.com or call the Dalton office at (706) 278-3966. Other ways you can offer help this Christmas are to adopt an "angel" by calling the office, donating toys or hosting a toy drive (over 1,000 children are signed up).

If you would like more information about how you can help, contact Lindsey Foster or Pat Thompson at (706) 278-3966 or by email at sadaltonchristmas@gmail.com or PatriciaThompson@uss.salvationarmy.org.

This year, the campaign is perhaps more important than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nonprofits are stretching their dollars even farther as more and more people rely on the services they provide.

The ringing of the bells is a Dalton tradition as much as the downtown Christmas parade, the illuminated star atop Mount Rachel and the presentations of the holiday ballets "The Snow Queen" and "The Nutcracker." We hope you are able to contribute to this worthy holiday tradition by donating, volunteering or both.

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