ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) – With the holidays upon us one local charity is asking for your help to make Christmas special for thousands of families. As Local 5’s Kris Schuller reports the Salvation Army of Green Bay kicked off its annual Christmas Campaign this morning with a big goal for 2017.
Inside Bay Park Square Mall, a countdown is underway marking the start of the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year.
“Three, two, one, ring those bells,” said Major Bob Mueller.
“We raise two thirds of our operating budget during the Christmas season,” said Mueller.
Surrounded by staff, supporters and a larger than life mascot – the organization’s leadership unveiled this year’s fundraising goal for the 2017 Christmas Campaign.
“Drum roll please, $1.1 million,” Mueller told onlookers.
It is funding raised through many sources such as corporate donations, but mainly through red kettles.
“It’s our biggest and most visible fundraiser of the year and the success of this campaign really hinges on the number of people we can help,” said Nick Meisner of the Salvation Army.
Last year the money raised in this campaign helped 4,500 families receive gifts for Christmas and food for the holidays. But Meisner says the donations also went to serving 30,000 meals and providing 29,000 nights of lodging to thousands of people year-round.
“Though this campaign is critical to meeting the need in the Christmas season and ensuring families have a wonderful holiday, it’s also critical to meeting the needs of those same folks, an even vaster majority of folks through the year,” Meisner said.
To meet this year’s goal, Salvation Army is looking to fill thousands of shifts for bell ringers at 140 red kettles throughout the community.
“Our biggest need is 14,800 volunteers just to ring bells,” said one Salvation Army official.
But Major Mueller is confident volunteers will step forward and this year’s goal will be met.
“Green Bay is a special place, unlike any other, especially in its generosity and care for one another,” said Mueller.
You can sign up to ring bells – by going to sagreenbay.org.