The Salvation Army officially kicked off its annual red kettle campaign on Thanksgiving Day with the Dallas Cowboys and 66 million football fans and television viewers.
"Today's kick-off packs a powerful punch both on and off the field," said Jerry Jones, Cowboys Owner and General Manager, in a released statement. "You always put points on the board when you help those who don't have the means to help themselves."
Sheryl Crow performed Wildflower from her most recent album during the Cowboys half-time show at the Texas Stadium to mark the start of the national Christmas fundraising campaign that has raised nearly $100 million each year.
"Recent events revealed a growing need to help others who are less fortunate," said Crow. "I hope others will join me in doing what they can to help their neighbors by contributing to the Red Kettles."
The Salvation Army partnered with Target earlier this month to help meet the needs of both the poor communities and the added need of the hurricane victims. Target.com/salvationarmy was launched Nov. 25 and will continue to run until Jan. 25, 2006 for products to be purchased and distributed to families across the country.
Before the national kick-off, Wal-Mart and SAM's CLUB stores invited the red kettle bell ringers one week earlier to double their efforts in collecting funds this holiday season.
"To many, the familiar sound of our bells ringing means hope. To others, it is an annual reminder to help the tens of millions in need during the Christmas holiday season and all year-round," said Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, National Commander of The Salvation Army, in a released statement.
The red kettle campaign helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from personal disasters each Christmas season. Last year, a record-breaking $102 million was raised, benefiting people in 5,000 communities.