BURTON — Salvation Army worker Richard Earl Jr. rings a bell and dances to Christmas tunes coming from a portable stereo in front of the Belsay Road K-Mart.
Beside him is a rack of discounted Halloween costumes.
“ This isn’t considered early,” says the former Burton resident, who has worked with the Salvation Army for several years now.
The bell ringers’ season was officially kicked off on Nov. 11 with a ceremony at the Salvation Army’s downtown Flint office that included speaker Mayor Dayne Walling.
Salvation Army Director Connie Peterson said this year’s goal amount of donations is $840,500, a $35,000 jump from last year’s goal amount. Peterson says that the funds provide families in need with “crucial services such as food and shelter.”
The Red Kettle Campaign will continue soliciting donations through Dec. 24 with all donations to benefit needy individuals living in Genesee County.
The charity has been steadily increasing their goal amount every year.
Last year, the Red Kettle Campaign began on Nov. 14 with a goal of $805,000. Around that time, Peters said that credit card machines could accompany the kettles since people tend to carry plastic in place of cash. The machines still are a work in progress.
In October, the Salvation Army held a bell ringers job fair to get shifts covered at donation sites. Groups and individuals are still able to “adopt” a donation site for a two-hour shift, entire day or entire week.
The organization also accepts toy and clothing collections from local drives from churches, businesses and clubs and monetary donations from individuals in order to combat utility shutoffs and evictions.
Visit www.salarmygenesee.org or call 810- 232-2196 for more information on the Red Kettle Campaign and other Salvation Army programs.