Red Kettle Drive hopes to help thousands in western Massachusetts

Along with providing clothing, shelter and relief, they also provide food.

Bell Ringer Racks Up

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The holiday season is upon us, and there are thousands of people right here in western Massachusetts who could use help. 22News found out how the Salvation Army’s kettle drive helps those in need.

The bells are ringing, signifying not only the start of the holiday season, but a time to remember those in need.

Patricia Converse, of Springfield said “It brings you back to childhood memories, it’s all about giving and caring about other humans.”

The Salvation Army of Greater Springfield started their 2016 Red Kettle Drive Saturday. It was Converse’s first day ringing the bell outside the Stop and Shop in West Springfield.  She said she enjoys helping other people. “It helps people out to donate money to charity, on food, on clothing and the children too with toys.”

The drive helps the organization serve thousands of local families in need. Along with the ringing bells the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign has been their signature fundraiser for more than 100 years. Last year, the campaign provided assistance for more than 5,000 families during the holiday season.

The goal is to raise $100,000 this year for the organization that serves all of Hampden County.

Diane Betti of West Springfield said “I think it’s a great cause my husband and I donate every year and it’s part of giving back to the community.”

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church established in 1865.

Ellen Cosimini, of Agawam said “It’s time to dig in your pocket and give something. You know I try to do it all year long with charities but especially this time of year people need help.”

Along with providing clothing, shelter and relief, they also provide food.

When 22News visited the Holyoke Salvation Army on Wednesday, they only had one turkey on the shelf for needy families. One year ago, 22News appealed for donated turkeys, resulting in the gift of 200 birds.

You can find out how to make donations here.