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Bell ringing for Salvation Army red kettles starts Nov. 25

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Christmas is less than six weeks away. Going hand in hand with the holiday season is the sound of bells -- Salvation Army bells that is.

The Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign kicks off Nov. 25 and runs through Christmas. Bell ringers and kettles will be stationed at Central Market, Wal-Mart, Kmart and the Washington Square Mall in Detroit Lakes this year.

"All the money stays in Becker County to serve the residents," coordinator Michele Baker said.

Some of the many programs the money helps with include Back to School, which are backpacks filled with school items for children; food baskets; diapers; foster care kits, which helps ease the transition for kids going into foster care; items for the Food Pantry, and other Christmas projects.

"Our goal is to get up over $17,000. We've averaged around $15,000 (in the past)," she said.

Nationwide, just since 1997, the annual Red Kettle campaign has raised more than $1 billion, which has helped serve 30 million people each year nationwide. Last year, the campaign raised a record $118 million.

According to the Salvation Army's Web site, the Red Kettle campaign was a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891. Since then, the "Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States." More than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers ring bells daily and solicit spare change from holiday shoppers.

Anyone interested in helping man a kettle in Detroit Lakes or making a donation can contact Michele Baker at Bremer Bank.