Many ways to help
The Kettle Drive funds the majority of the Salvation Army’s fiscal year, while Christmas assistance relies more heavily on direct donations, all part of the fundraising program which also includes Treasures for Children, through which Salvation Army partners adopt one child, multiple children or an entire family for whom they will purchase clothing and toys.
“Last year was a very generous year and the children benefited greatly from it,” said Holmes. “It all depends on the generosity of the community, and Meadville is the most generous community I’ve ever lived in.”
Crow mentioned planning for small can kettles to sit on checkout counters in some participating stores, as well as housing some bell ringers, mainly older participants, indoors.
The Salvation Army is not only counting on the city’s generosity, but also the residents’ technological capabilities as it unfolds one of its most recent donation innovations: virtual kettles at onlineredkettle.org.
“Online kettles are accessible from our website and can be used individually, with a group or business and with families for multiple donations,” said Crow. “The national office will also have a virtual kettle contest for various prizes.”
In terms of local businesses, Crow has personally gone door to door around the area, seeking sponsorships and, of course, bell ringers.
“Most groups and organizations deliver bell-ringing assistance for the Kettle Drive,” he said. “We’ve had many outside groups interested as well, some as far as Erie.”
The Salvation Army doesn’t have to look too far for volunteer assistance, however. Aside from profit and nonprofit organizations, the Kettle Drive also gets a lot of its helping hands from area schools.
“The Meadville Area Senior High School National Honor Society really stepped up last year,” said Holmes. “Those students easily covered over 100 hours of kettle time. We’ve also gotten a great response from Allegheny College.”
Certificates of appreciation and thanks are often given in return for community service hours well spent.
“This town is so generous and continually so,” said Crow. “Whether it’s time or money, volunteers just give and give and give.”
YOU CAN HELP
Last year, the Meadville area’s Salvation Army Kettle Drive totaled more than $55,000, up about $10,000 from the prior year, and went to assist almost 6,400 individuals in the Meadville area. This year’s goal is $65,000.
- For more information or to donate: Visit Salvation Army, 1087 Park Ave., Meadville, or call (814) 724-3738 and ask for a self-addressed envelope. Visit onlineredkettle.org
- To volunteer: Call Howard Crow at (814) 795-4496.