BY MICHAEL RICONDA
West Nyack – As Christmas approaches, one of the most recognizable signs of the season has arrived once again at the Palisades Center Mall.
With its Red Kettle Kickoff event on Friday, November 15 just outside of Lord & Taylor, the Salvation Army has begun its annual donation drive, collecting money for charitable efforts across the county.
“It’s a great venue for us to start our kettle season and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season,” Salvation Army Regional Coordinator Marcus Jugenheimer explained.
The Salvation Army saw significant success during last year’s donation drive, collecting about $96,000 in donations. This year, they bumped their goal up to $110,000.
The kettle drive will be held at 18 locations within Rockland. According to Jugenheimer, funds from the fundraiser will go toward Salvation Army food pantries, rent and utility assistance programs, its canteen feeding ministry and other ongoing administrative expenses.
Funds are not only collected by Salvation Army volunteers, but also volunteers from local church and youth groups, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and national honor societies, who are invited to participated in the red kettle drives.
“We like the red kettle efforts to be community efforts,” Jugenheimer said. “Any group that would like to be a part in helping their neighbors to just take a few hours to help man a kettle so we can raise the most funds at the lowest cost.”
This year marks the fifth annual Red Kettle Drive at the Palisades Center, though the tradition itself stretches far back into the late 1800s.