The Walmart Foundation donated $1 million to this year’s Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. WalMart is the largest supporter of the Red Kettle Campaign, raising more than $42 million through the red kettles in 2010.
Billie Acheson from the Dixie Care & Share in St. George, Utah, said she has been a bell ringer in front of her local Walmart store for the past four years.
“It’s fun and a good way to help the community,” Acheson said. Dixie Care & Share is a partner with the Salvation Army.
“We have people every year tell us they can’t wait for the Red Kettle Campaign to start because they can’t wait to make their donation,” she said.
The red kettle donation will help several agencies, including the Community Health Center, the DOVE Center, the Hope Pregnancy Center and the Doctors’ Volunteer Clinic, as well as Care & Share, an area-wide food pantry and homeless shelter, explained Acheson.
She said a lot of the volunteers are return bell-ringers because they enjoy the work. “We get a good response from the community, especially from the kids, who come up with their bags of change they’ve saved to drop the coins in,” Acheson said. She said some volunteers will dress up with Santa hats and reindeer horns. “Some of the ringers get really animated out there!”
“Last year, we had someone dress up as an elf,” she said, laughing. “It was pretty funny.”
The Salvation Army is well-known for its trademark red kettles and volunteers ringing bells on street corners and in front of stores. The organization is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church.
The Walmart Foundation was created “to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe,” a statement reads. This year’s pledge was just part of the foundation’s ongoing effort to provide relief and support to families across America. In May 2010, The Walmart Foundation made a pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger across the country.
“With the help of donors and corporate partners such as Wal-Mart, The Salvation Army can address the rising need and provide food and service programs where it’s needed most,” stated Commissioner William Roberts, national commander for The Salvation Army.