FULTON, NY – Having kicked off Friday and continuing through Christmas Eve, the Fulton Salvation Army has launched its annual Red Kettle Campaign.
Captain Kevin Brennan, who heads the local Salvation Army with his wife, Captain Leslie Brennan, said that the donations through the kettle campaign are used primarily to provide a bright Christmas to those who may not have one otherwise.
“The money is made available to us to buy Christmas toys and food for holiday food baskets for local families,” Brennan said.
|Kicking off this yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s red kettle campaign with a donation are, from left, Michelle Handley and Sandy Weston of the Salvation Army advisory board and Captain Kevin Brennan.|
During the 2006 campaign, Brennan said that $54,000 in donations were collected. With that, the Salvation Army was able to provide Christmas food baskets to 245 families.
“Two hundred of those families had children,” Brennan said. “So they were also given toys, as well.”
Each year, the Salvation Army joins efforts with other local agencies, such as Oswego County Catholic Charities, and compares lists of people who sign up for holiday assistance. The efforts are made so that there is no duplication of services to families so that assistance is maximized locally and as many families as possible can receive some type of help.
“I think for a lot of people, this is all they have (for Christmas),” Brennan said.
Brennan said the local Army serves all areas of Oswego County, which the exception of Oswego city, which has its own Salvation Army. Kettles are set up locally and as far out as Central Square.
“I think the farthest we’ve served (a family with holiday assistance) was Constantia,” Brennan said.
“I really hope that we have as much success (with the kettle drive) this year as we had last year,” said Michelle Handley, who heads the Fulton Salvation Army advisory board. “It is such as wonderful program. It does so much for so many people.”
Advisory board member Sandy Weston agreed.
“I hope that people understand the importance of these donations,” Weston said. “So many people are able to receive food and toys through these donations. It really makes the holidays special.”
“I really is amazing how many this helps us serve,” Handley said.
In addition to holiday giving, Brennan said that kettle collections offset the costs of operating the year-round food pantry and soup kitchen at the Salvation Army.
Through the food pantry, families are able to pick up one box of food each month through the entire year. The Salvation Army soup kitchen is open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch. Meals are provided free of charge and between 40 to 80 people are served per day. Brennan said that the Salvation Army also works to provide rental and utility assistance when the funds are available.
In addition to kettle donations, Brennan said those interested in volunteering can contact his office at 593-0696. Food or toy donations for the holiday drive can be dropped off at the Salvation Army at 62 So. First St., Fulton, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Brennan said those who need an alternate time for dropping off items can call ahead to schedule a time that is more convenient.
“As always, we thank the community for the continued support,” Brennan said.