It’s that time of the year again - bells will soon be ringing in and around the Rochester area.

The Salvation Army’s 2018 Kettle Drive will begin in earnest this Saturday, November 17 and will run through Christmas Eve. But much like every year, volunteers are being sought to help man the kettles during the drive. Check the Salvation Army website for more information.

My wife and I have been volunteering the past couple years and it's become a new and fun family tradition for us. In fact, the past two years we've brought our daughter Charlee with us, and she's also helped in collecting money for those in need. I'm already signed up for my first shift at Scheels in the Apache Mall in December and I couldn't be more excited to go and bring our newborn Chloe with us as well.

Officials say just two hours of volunteering at a kettle raises an average of $60. That’s enough for the Salvation Army to buy three days worth of groceries for a family of four, or provide two days worth of food and shelter for a person experiencing homelessness.

To donate to the 128th Red Kettle Campaign:

  • New this year, ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army” and then specifying the amount
  • Visit give.salvationarmyusa.org
  • Drop dollars and coins into the thousands of red kettles found in front of partner locations
  • Give any amount by texting KETTLES to 91999

Last year's 2017 campaign brought in nearly $1.4 million, which easily surpassed the goal of $1.1 million.

The bottom line is there's over dozens of spots, both inside and out to ring, and it's super easy to do. Do it alone, or get a group together and make it fun! So if you can spare an hour or two, please register to ring this holiday season to make a difference to those less fortunate.

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