Salvation Army kicks off the holiday season in region

David Delaney, left, and Jessica Meritt, right, both members of the National Capitol Band in Washington, D.C., play Christmas songs during the Salvation Army Kettle Kick-off Thursday at the Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER –  Salvation Army bell ringers standing next to those familiar red kettles will be accepting donations for those less fortunate this holiday season at stations around the city of Winchester and Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah and Warren counties through Dec. 22.

The annual Red Kettle Campaign for Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties kicked off  with holiday songs, music and bells a-ringing at the Apple Blossom Mall on Thursday.

Mayor Patricia Dickinson, of Berryville, challenged the community to raise the bar for this year’s campaign, which has a goal of $150,000.

“It’s been a difficult few months for us as a country,” Dickinson said. “But we don’t want it to define our country. We’re a nation that loves people. Who cares about our neighbors, who wants to see that everyone is our community is taken care of,” she said.

She said she believes that through the Red Kettle Campaign that the nation’s and world’s perspective can be changed. “This year I want to see a record-breaking year.”

Gracelyn Reyes, 4, left, of Winchester, rings the bell beside Salvation Army Capt. Regina Durant. Rich Cooley/Daily

John Taylor, Advisory Board chair of the Salvation Army in Winchester, offered thanks to the community for its generous support both past and present.

“We are a community that instills a reputation of being generous in helping those that are less fortunate,” said Taylor. “And there’s no other activity more important during Christmas than the Red Kettle Campaign. It’s when we do the most good.”

The Salvation Army came to Winchester in 1919. This year it will be celebrating 98 years of serving the region. Its mission is to internationally support human need without discrimination.  Today the Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Salvation Army Capt. Kelly Durant said she is thankful for all the hard work that has been and will continue in the Shenandoah Valley.

“As you know the Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London, helping the worst of the worst,” Durant said.

“This year is a challenge, because a lot of people gave to the disaster relief work; which we’re really thankful for,” Durant said. “But it also affects us here locally because if they already gave, they may not want to give again. We’re praying the Lord will multiple it and will ask those who can to keep supporting.”

More Information

Visit www.salvationarrmyusa.org