MOREHEAD CITY — Bells were ringing Tuesday during the kickoff ceremony for the 2019 Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign.
Money raised during the annual campaign helps provide toys and food for needy county families for Christmas, and supports The Salvation Army’s social services programs and operations costs throughout the year.
“This is the largest fundraiser we do all year to meet the needs of residents,” Major Aaron Goldfarb with The Salvation Army said during the brief ceremony in front of Belk.
Salvation Army board members and volunteers, along with County Commission Chairman Mark Mansfield attended the ceremony, as did Major Goldfarb’s wife, Capt. Jamie Goldfarb.
Capt. Goldfarb played Christmas music on an alto horn for the event.
Mr. Mansfield encouraged residents to donate during the red kettle campaign, which will end Christmas Eve.
“The Salvation Army has been the biggest supporter of families during hurricanes Florence and Dorian,” Mr. Mansfield said.
Salvation Army advisory council president Warren Benton said the red kettle campaign last year raised $90,000 to help county residents.
“We’d like to top the $100,000 mark this year,” Mr. Benton said.
Major Goldfarb said while the kickoff was held Tuesday, bell ringers won’t report to stations until Friday.
“We have so much going on this week with the opening of our new building, that we wanted to go ahead and have the bell ringing kickoff today,” he said.
Major Goldfarb encouraged residents to come out at 9 a.m. Thursday for the grand opening of the new $3.56 million Salvation Army worship and service center at 2800 Bridges St. in Morehead City.
The center houses a 7,500-square-foot worship and service center and an 11,000-square-foot thrift store on a 3.5-acre tract. Funds for the center were raised through a separate Anchor the Army capital campaign.
As for the red kettle kickoff, bell ringer and Salvation Army volunteer Joan Casey was among those on hand to briefly ring a bell. As she rang, those going into Belk were already placing dollar bills in the kettle.
“I always give to The Salvation Army,” Elizabeth Cassidy of Morehead City said as she placed money in the kettle. “I want to give, especially with all the needs they have helping people who received damage from the hurricanes.”
Ms. Casey said ringing a bell for The Salvation Army is a rewarding experience.
“The money donated helps those in need and we hope those we help see that we serve a Lord who cares about them,” Ms. Casey said.
Volunteers and some paid employees are still needed to ring bells at many county locations from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Christmas Eve. The ringers will not be used Sundays and Thanksgiving Day.
Volunteers start ringing Friday at Belk, Lowes Foods in Morehead City and Cape Carteret, Harris Teeter in Morehead City, Walmart in Morehead City and Newport, Piggly Wiggly in Beaufort, Roses in Beaufort, Hobby Lobby in Morehead City, Food Lions in Morehead City and Newport, Big Lots in Morehead City, First Citizens Bank in Beaufort (Fridays and Saturdays only) and ABC Stores in Beaufort and Morehead City.
Capt. Goldfarb especially encouraged groups, such as churches and civic organizations, to ring for a good cause. Individuals can ring as little as four hours.
Those interested in volunteering to ring bells can call Capt. Goldfarb at 252-269-3087.
Those who want to make monetary donations can mail checks to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 399, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. All donations will go to the Christmas fund unless they are earmarked in the memo line for other needs, such as the Anchor the Army capital campaign for the new Salvation Army worship and service center.
Donations can also be made by going to salvationarmycarolinas.org/moreheadcity.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.