DECATUR — The Salvation Army officially began its Christmas campaign on Wednesday morning, with a row of the festive red kettles stationed outside of the agency. The theme for the 2021 season is Hope Marches On. The Golden K Kiwanis members accepted a red kettle competition, between fans of the Green […]
DECATUR — The Salvation Army officially began its Christmas campaign on Wednesday morning, with a row of the festive red kettles stationed outside of the agency.
The theme for the 2021 season is Hope Marches On.
According to Kyle Karsten, Salvation Army director of development, the majority of the social service’s funds are collected during the holiday season. “So that we can be in the position to help our community, not just this Christmas, but all year long,” he said.
This year’s chairs are local business owners Dale and Rita Colee. “The Red Kettle program at Christmas, which is such a phenomenal Christmas tradition, you hear those every time you come in and out of so many of our community stores,” Rita Colee said. “We wanted to be a part of that.”
This year’s Christmas campaign goal of $600,000 will hopefully be met through donations, events, mail appeals and the red kettles.
The Salvation Army’s signature red kettles will be located outside various stores throughout the Decatur area. Beginning Friday, Nov. 12, bell ringers will be situated in front of Hobby Lobby at the Hickory Point Mall, Blaine’s Farm and Fleet on First Drive, and Rural King on Mount Zion Road. On Nov. 26, more red kettles will be found at both Walmart stores in Decatur, Sam’s Club, and all three Kroger stores.
Spots are open for individuals, groups and families to ring bells alongside the red kettles. Virtual bell ringing is another option through online donations.
The community will have opportunities to celebrate the holiday season through Salvation Army festivities, including the Julie McClarey-Smith and Friends Piano Concert on Sunday, Nov. 14, and the Red Kettle Dinner Gala on Dec. 9, designed to kick off the “Gurneys, Guns, & Hoses” first responder bell ringing competition on Dec. 10 and 11.
The funds raised from the holiday fundraisers help support many opportunities in the community, including the men’s shelter, Pathway of Hope for women and families, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army Angel Tree and other needs.
“Those are the things that are possible because of your support,” Karsten said.
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McClarey-Smith to perform for Decatur Salvation Army fundraiser
Like many other communities, Macon County felt the needs grow during the pandemic. “We know there continues to be a real need in this community, especially during these challenging times of COVID and the pandemic and what it brought to us,” Dale Colee said.
“It’s important because the need is greater,” said Salvation Army Corp Officer Kenesa Debela. “We’re here to help them, support them, and give them self-sufficiency.”
According to Debela, the local donations stay in the community. “It goes to support the people in Decatur,” he said.
One of the Salvation Army goals is to expand their temporary shelter to a 24-hour homeless shelter as well as provide programs, such as employability training and work ethic training. “The more the community comes together and works together, pushing in the same direction, we can make a maximum impact and be more efficient,” Debela said. “It’s a great partnership.”
As the chairpersons, the Colees have experienced and seen support from the community. “So many times you volunteer for things, and you think you are helping someone else, getting involved with the Salvation Army really comes back to you. It’s a gift for you.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Decatur Christmas decorations of the past
Bob and Nellie Blair
Plugging Santa in
Wired for the season
Mixture of themes
Tree trimming time
Christmas in the air
Santa heads for landing
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR
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