The Loudoun County Salvation Army today kicked off its Red Kettle fundraising campaign this morning, hoping to collect $95,000 to support its year-round network of community support services.
Bell ringers will be posted at storefronts around the county starting next Friday, urging residents to drop a few bucks in their kettles.
During a ceremony at the Catoctin Circle Giant store, Captain Pradeep Ramaji emphasized that money raised through the campaign would be used only to provide services to Loudoun County residents.
Last year during the Christmas holiday, the organization served 1,500 children through its Angel Tree program and another 700 families through its Toy Shop program, which is supported by Toys for Tots. But its programs reach far beyond Dec. 25 by providing emergency aid and other support to residents as part of its mission combating poverty.
“The Salvation Army continues to help individuals and families who have to make careful choices about their finances, choices like whether to pay the utility bill or to provide groceries to feed their children,” Ramaji said. “Your thoughtful consideration on how to make your gift is most important now more than ever before,” he added, noting there are many ways other than donating cash that can make a difference in the community. For example, the Ketterman family has provided space at its future Ketterman’s Jewelry store on Catoctin Circle for the agency to store and sort toy collections this year.
Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk lined up to drop in campaign’s first dollar and to join with volunteers for a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
“We always hear the statistics that Loudoun County is one of the richest counties in the United States, but we don’t realize that there are so many people in need, so many people who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from, where they are going spend the night,” she said. “Organizations like the Salvation Army do such a phenomenal job at helping the poor and the disadvantaged and the people that are confused and don’t know what is going to happen.”
Burk said that she spent time along with Vice Mayor Suzanne Fox, ringing a kettle bell last year, when they may have set a record for the highest donation totals in an hour.
“I challenge everybody. Get your offices out here. Get your friends to come out. Give an hour and see if you can beat what we did last year,” she said.
Ramaji is recruiting volunteers to help with the campaign. “We’ve had families, faith-based groups, coworkers, student groups, and service clubs volunteer to ring bells,” he said.
For information on who to help, call 703-771-3371 or go to virginiasalvationarmy.org/loudouncountyvacorps.