Red Kettle drive seeks to raise $50,000

PUNXSUTAWNEY —Bells will be ringing throughout Punxsutawney as the holiday fund-raising season was welcomed by the Salvation Army’s Kettle Kick-Off Friday.

This year’s kettle campaign goal is $50,000, Commanding Officer Captain Keith Jache said.

“We’re hoping to reach at least that so we can help people at Christ-mastime and throughout the year,” he said.

The County Market kick-off, which offers a $2 meal that includes a hot dog, soda and bag of chips, will continue today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Donation kettles, generally monitored by bell-ringing volunteers from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., are located at County Market, Dollar Tree, Peebles and Comet Market.

Those traditional, red kettles will additionally appear at Wal-Mart and Dollar General the day after Thanksgiving.

“It’s our biggest fund-raiser,” Jache, pastor of the church, said. “It helps us provide toys and clothes for children and adults for Christmas.”

Money raised from the kettle campaign also helps heat homes, supplement rent and assists in funding after-school and scouting programs, Jache said.

Additionally, Angel Tree Tags — a campaign that provides Christmas presents for local children — may be picked up at the Salvation Army, Wal-Mart or area banks.

Currently lacking bell-ringing volunteers, Jache urged those interested to contact the church at 938-5530.

“It’s a time to give back,” he said. “And it makes you feel good.”

Furthermore, Sunday, Nov. 21, the organization will host a community Thanksgiving dinner, free of charge, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the church, located on 229 W. Mahoning St.

Beyond the Christmas kettles, the church provides all-year aid in the following areas: Emergency food assistance, disaster services, Tuesday and Thursday bread distribution, pastoral counseling and provision in emergency clothing and household goods.

The goal of the Salvation Army, Jache said, is to “meet the need of community both physically and spiritually.”