Daily Light staff writer

The Salvation Army will start its annual Red Kettle donation program the Friday after Thanksgiving, but to make it a true success it needs volunteers from the community.

A Red Kettle contribution assists the Salvation Army in providing meaningful assistance to needy families, children and shut-ins, at Christmas and year around. The Red Kettle is a tradition the Salvation Army has preserved for 126 years.

“We want to make this a community effort and to get the most out of a dollar,” said Dani Muckleroy, board member of the Salvation Army.

Capt. Mario Maldonado is encouraging members of the community to sign up at the Salvation Army at 620 Farley St. in Waxahachie or call the office at 972-937-7727 to volunteer. There will be Red Kettles located in Waxahachie, Ennis, Midlothian, Red Oak, Lancaster and DeSoto.

“We would like to have a very successful year with the money we receive from the Red Kettle,” Maldonado said.

For the Salvation Army to have a successful year, Muckleroy would like to cut back on paid bell ringers. She hopes to use all volunteers at all of the locations and hopes people will volunteer their time for a worthy cause.

“Right now, I have a list of five volunteers,” Maldonado said. “We need more than that.”

A suggestion for having more volunteers and cutting back on paid bell ringers is to have organizations volunteer as a whole.

“We also take organizations that would want to volunteer a block of time to work,” Muckleroy said. “For instance, the Lions Club may work one to three days and the Rotary Club signed up for Dec. 1.

“A suggestion for organizations may be to have a competition amongst each other or another organization to see which kettle raised the most money,” she said.

Muckleroy said she wants to inform the public about the effects of the contribution the Red Kettle provides the Salvation Army.

“People aren’t as familiar with the Red Kettle as we would like them to be,” she said. “They think it is just for Christmas but it’s our main source for the yearly income.

“It determines our budget for the next year,” she said. “The population of Ellis County is growing by leaps and bounds and with that influx of people the Salvation Army needs help helping those. Our goal is to reach $100,000.”

Another way the Salvation Army is trying to reach its goal is by going digital. For the first time, it will be hosting an online Red Kettle, which people can access at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

There are three online options available for the community: personal kettles, group kettles and business kettles.

A personal kettle is for an individual who wants to host his or her own online Red Kettle by customizing his or her own Web page and then inviting others via e-mail. A group kettle is for organizations, civic and church groups that would like to host their own. A business kettle is for any size or type of business to host in a co-branded environment with the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army board chairman Missy Phillips is excited to see how effective this new method is for raising money.

“I hope it goes great,” Phillips said. “I know certain groups that used this method and that’s how they were able to raise plenty of money. It’s a way to keep raising the kettle funds.”

The Salvation Army is hoping a large amount of volunteers, organizations and online kettles will help raise plenty of money to help out the community.

“There are a lot of good things happening over here and we are setting to help out those who need it in the community,” Maldonado said.

E-mail Anthony at anthony.davila@wninews.com