BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Salvation Army officially kicked off its Red Kettle and Angel Tree programs for this holiday season.
The organization held its annual kick-off campaign with guest speakers, music, and a ribbon-cutting on Nov. 20, at the Sunrise Mall in Brownsville.
“For us, this is huge because this is the big thing that we do during the Christmas season,” said the commanding officer of Salvation Army of Willacy and Cameron County, Captain Benjamin Deuel.
He said the Red Kettle and Angel Tree programs started many years ago.
“Back in 1929 the Salvation Army came to Cameron County, and we began our process of providing services for the community and with that, every year we’ve done our bell ringing,” said Deuel.
He explained that the red kettles and bell ringers are located at retail and grocery stores and shopping centers.
“The monies that we raise at our kettle not only provide food for families but provide assistance for utilities, rent, clothing, and a number of other programs that we have for the community,” he said.
One of the programs during the Christmas season is the Angel Tree program. He said the program provides families in the community who need help with gifts for children.
“We always want a child to get up on Christmas morning and be able to rip open a package and feel the excitement, feel the joy of Christmas,” said Deuel.
The Salvation Army’s goals to help families and children during the holiday season and throughout the year were impacted by the pandemic last year according to Deuel.
“The pandemic brought a whole other dynamic to need. As that approached us, the Salvation Army worked hard to address that, applied for funding, we were able to get funding. At this point, that funding has run out,” said Deuel.
He said the organization fell short of their goal last year but were still able to make an impact and they are aiming for a higher goal this year to continue providing resources.
“I know that there are people in this community who can give and who want to give and want to support an organization that really does work hard to do the most good for the community,” he said.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating to the Salvation Army, you can visit their website for more information.