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Red Kettle Campaign kicks off Friday

A woman puts paper money into the Salvation Army red kettle before adding a few coins in the entrance of Schnuck's in DeKalb, Ill. on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.
A woman puts paper money into the Salvation Army red kettle before adding a few coins in the entrance of Schnuck's in DeKalb, Ill. on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

DeKALB – The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign kicks off in DeKalb and Sycamore today with a goal of raising $70,000.

Although the bulk of the public fundraising is done in November and December, DeKalb service officer Capt. Michael Cho said those funds support the organization all year long.

Volunteers are needed to ring bells at six locations: Schnucks, Inboden’s Meat Market, JCPenney, Hy-Vee and Walgreens in both Sycamore and DeKalb. After Thanksgiving, kettles also will be placed at Walmart and the Jewel stores in DeKalb and Sycamore.

Cho said shift times are flexible, and he invited individuals and service organizations to sign up by calling volunteer coordinator Travis Catalina at 815-501-3822.

“People sometimes have a fear of doing it if they’ve never tried it,” Cho said. “It’s a great opportunity to help your friends and neighbors, because all the money raised stays here in DeKalb County.”

Cho said funds are used to buy food for the pantry, and provide emergency assistance and funds for utility bills for area residents in need.

“These funds are crucial, and the need continues to increase,” Cho said.

Gary Billings, food pantry coordinator at The Salvation Army, said a lot more than just the Red Kettle Campaign happens there during the holiday season.

The Let’s Talk Turkey promotion is set for 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22. Community members are invited to bring meat products, including turkeys or hams, to The Salvation Army, 830 Grove St. in DeKalb, for distribution with Thanksgiving food baskets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 26.

Cho said residents have until Thursday to apply for a food basket.

Billings said the annual Freezing for Food drive is set for noon Dec. 4 through noon Dec. 7 in the parking lot in front of Aldi on Sycamore Road. Nonperishable food items are accepted to stock the food pantry.

The Salvation Army also handles toy and clothing distribution for the local Toys for Tots coordinated by Kathy Davis. Applications to receive toys and clothing are being accepted until Dec. 12.

Cho is looking for more businesses willing to host an angel tree that contains ornaments with information about a child in need of toys and clothing. More than 2,200 children were served during the 2012 distribution, and Cho said he expects more this year.

Billings said volunteers are needed from Dec. 16 to 18 for the holiday distribution.

For more information on any of the holiday opportunities at the Salvation Army, call 815-756-4308 or visit

Volunteers needed:
• Bell ringing for the Red Kettle Campaign, today to Dec. 25.
• Donating meat items for Let’s Talk Turkey, Nov. 22.
• Helping with Thanksgiving food distribution, Nov. 26.
• Donating nonperishable food items during Freezing for Food, Dec. 4 to 7.
• Assisting with holiday clothing and toy distribution, Dec. 16 to 18.
To volunteer, call 815-756-4308 or volunteer coordinator Travis Catalina at 815-501-3822. The Salvation Army is at 830 Grove St., DeKalb, or online at

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