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Kristen Daum, Published November 19 2009

Bells will be ringing: Salvation Army kicks off campaign with goal of $650K

The familiar sound of bells will greet shoppers at dozens of area stores for the next month.

Local Salvation Army leaders kicked off their 2009 Red Kettle campaign Wednesday, with a goal of raising $650,000 this holiday season.

Capt. Bill Mealy said last year’s bell-ringers collected about $680,000 – surpassing the 2008 goal by more than $50,000.

Bell-ringers will be at 31 locations throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area – including West Acres mall, Walmart stores, Scheels and area grocery stores – to collect donations for The Salvation Army.

All proceeds collected locally will benefit the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Last spring, The Salvation Army assisted with local flood efforts, yet the army’s assistance to the community continues throughout the year, leaders said.

“There are others in our community who have needs every single day, regardless of whether we’re having a flood or not – and that’s where The Salvation Army can come in,” said honorary kettle chairman Doug Burgum, of the Kilbourne Group.

More than half of the army’s annual budget comes from donations collected during the Red Kettle campaign.

For the first time, the kickoff came with a first-day fundraising challenge.

Burgum said if Wednesday’s donations exceeded the previous first-day record of $11,295, the Kilbourne Group would donate $5,000 to the Red Kettle campaign.

The campaign got a head start Wednesday morning with donations from State Bank & Trust, Gate City Bank and West Acres Development, and with a pledge from Microsoft Corp. officials that they’ll match dollar-for-dollar what their employees donate.

This year’s theme, “Ring a bell for hope,” is a reflection of the community responsibility to help those in need, Mealy said.

“Behind that bell, there’s hope, and we can get the things done that we are called to do,” Mealy said.

Online

Follow the 2009 Red Kettle Campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Fargo-ND/The-Salvation-Army-Fargo-2009-Red-Kettle-Campaign/173656533439.

How to help

To become a Salvation Army bell-ringer, call Gerri Leach at (701) 356-2689 or e-mail Gerri_Leach@usc.salvationarmy.org.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541