The Salvation Army of Crystal Lake and McHenry County began its red kettle bell-ringing season with a multi-chamber and media mixer on Tuesday and a goal of raising $217,000 this year.
Major Barbara Owen of The Salvation Army of Crystal Lake and McHenry County said these events have been happening for the past four years as an awareness effort to all of the programs and services offered to families in need during the holiday season.
“For some, it really is the kickoff of the Christmas season,” Owen said.
Owen said about 35% of The Salvation Army’s annual budget is made by the red kettles around Christmas time.
Over the holiday season, funding supports a free Thanksgiving dinner and toys for children in need.
Last year, The Salvation Army provided more than 7,000 gifts to about 1,000 local children.
Multiple chambers of commerce and community representatives attended the event.
Jessica Jablonski, marketing coordinator for Clearbrook – a Crystal Lake-based organization devoted to providing opportunities and services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities – said one of the reasons she attended was to help promote her organization’s work.
One of the Clearbrook services Jablonski was hoping to promote is Naturally Gifted, a program that offers vocational education hands-on skills training for those with intellectual disabilities. Participants follow a 12-week curriculum consisting of classroom learning, training and job shadowing.
“We’re trying to make Clearbrook, as a whole, more involved with McHenry County,” Jablonski said.
Owen said one thing The Salvation Army is offering to businesses is a counter kettle to collect donations.
Culver’s in Huntley, 12950 S Illinois Route 47, also will be making a matching donation Nov. 30 based on how much is made, Owen said.
Volunteer bell ringers still are needed. Interested parties can sign up by going to www.registertoring.com or by calling 815-455-2769.