Many see campaign as start of holidays
CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's one of the most iconic sounds of the season -- the jingle of the Salvation Army's bells.
Monday marks the start of the Salvation Army's largest annual holiday fundraiser, and they need your help.
For Salvation Army Maj. Caleb Senn, the 131-year-old Red Kettle Christmas campaign is the official start of the season of giving.
"It's iconic. It means Christmas. It means the season is starting. It means I have a chance to do good for somebody else in my community," Senn said.
And much of that good the Salvation Army is able to do each year comes from money raised during the Red Kettle season.
This year, the Salvation Army hopes to collect $11 million to support its 50 different social service programs.
"This is our single largest fundraiser of the year. We could not do what we do each and every day without the Red Kettles," Senn said.
During a holiday season where the prices of basic needs like food and gas are up across the board, the Salvation Army said this year's Red Kettle campaign is that much more important.
"As we see people coming through our doors perhaps even for the first time, people have given to the Salvation Army, but never thought they would need the Salvation Army, so it's absolutely critical to help and give as much as you can," Senn said.
The Red Kettle has also evolved with the digital age.
So, if you don't have any spare change, Senn said, "People can tap their phone against the Kettle sign and give. People can also go to SalArmyChicago.org and give online. We are depending more and more each year on those online donations."
The next time you hear that familiar ring when you're out shopping, and see a Red Kettle, remember you have the chance to make someone's holiday just a bit brighter.
You have plenty of time to give to the Salvation Army.
Donations can be made through Christmas Eve at 300 different stores all across Chicagoland.