Country star Keith Urban kicked off The Salvation Army's iconic Red Kettle campaign Thursday during the Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game against defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints.
The three-time Grammy award winner performed some of his top hits, including "Put You in a Song," while asking Americans to dig deep to help those less fortunate this holiday season.
Urban continued the annual tradition of reminding Americans about the Red Kettle campaign during the Cowboys' game. The Salvation Army's partnership with the Cowboys runs 14 years. Each year, popular artists, including Carrie Underwood and the Jonas Brothers, have taken the stage to lend their support.
Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, says he's inspired by the work of The Salvation Army and the thousands of volunteers who ring bells for the Christmas campaign.
He also expresses confidence in the integrity of the more than 140-year-old Christian organization.
"I believe in being as prudent as you can be when you give a dollar, how much of it goes to the people that need it," he said. "I literally know the work ethic of The Salvation Army and the officers. ... You get more out of that than the dollar itself."
This year, the organization has made it easier for the public to give.
Along with the thousands of red kettles stationed in front of stores and on street corners, virtual kettles allow people to donate online, and a new text messaging campaign allows mobile phone users to easily give (text "GIVE" to 85944 to make a $10 donation).
Keeping up with the growth of iPhone users, The Salvation Army is also engaging the public with the iPhone Bellringer application which makes it possible for anyone to become a bell ringer. Moreover, iPhone users can manage their online red kettle fundraising directly from their phone.
"The Salvation Army has a long standing tradition of helping people at the point of need, but as more people struggle every day, we've had to expand our outreach in new ways to raise awareness and money," said Commissioner William Roberts, who was commissioned as The Salvation Army's National Commander on November 1.
The goal for this year's Red Kettle campaign is to break last year's record of $139 million, Roberts said.