The Salvation Army Muscatine’s (SAM’s) red holiday kettles have symbolized holiday giving for decades. Each year, the organization uses their Red Kettle Campaign to support all of their charitable programs for the year ahead. This year, organizers of the Red Kettle Campaign have some creative new ideas to make this holiday tradition even more effective than before. They unveiled these latest features at their Annual Red Kettle Campaign Kick Off on Thursday, November 14th.
Held at Pearl City Station (the Red Brick Building) the volunteers behind this year’s Red Kettle Campaign introduced their goals and helped generate community support for this important fundraiser. Mike Ruby, the SAM’s 2019 Christmas Chair, opened the event, telling attendees that, “we are trying to make this year’s campaign bigger, better and bolder than before.”
Ester Dean then introduced this year’s honorary Red Kettle Campaign Chairs, Jerry Ewers, Muscatine Fire Department Chief; C. J. Ryan, Muscatine County Sherriff; and Brett Talkington, Muscatine Police Chief. In a new take on the Red Kettle Campaign, these three hairs, along with members of their organizations, will compete against each other to see who can raise the most money. Additionally, each group will have a day to ring at Walmart (December 13th for the police and fire departments and December 7th for the sheriff’s department). At the end of the Red Kettle Campaign, the money raised from these ringing days, along with the kettles outside their workplaces, will get counted and a traveling trophy will go to the group that raised the most. A fun new competition, Dean shared, “we hope to keep doing this every year, inviting new groups to compete.”
Though the dedication of Muscatine’s first responders will do a lot to help the SAM meet their goal of raising $180,000, Gergory and Liz Bock, the SAM’s Lieutenants, emphasize that they will still need many other ringers from across the county. Anyone in Muscatine or West Liberty (who will have kettles for the first time this year, thanks to assistance from the West Liberty Rotary Club) interested in ringing may sign up for a time to ring either online at www.registertoring.com or by visiting the SAM at 1000 Oregon Street, Muscatine. The Bock’s highly encourage you to get involved, as the work the SAM does benefits countless people across the county. “Every penny that’s given here stays in Muscatine County,” Greg emphasized.
As a final push to bring positive attention to the Red Kettle Campaign, the SAM has partnered with Hoffman Incorporated to build an enormous red kettle to bring to events throughout the holiday season. Funded by generous private donors and constructed with help from industrial arts students at Muscatine High School, Greg proudly shared that this kettle, “was built in Muscatine, by Muscatine, for Muscatine,” to help draw awareness and donations to the SAM’s good work. The SAM looks to introduce their mammoth kettle in just two weeks’ time and hopes to have a double axle trailer to tote it about on. The SAM would deeply appreciate any community support in finding a discounted trailer to help meet their needs and help ensure a successful Red Kettle Campaign this season.