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Put the pedal to the metal for Red Kettles

Staff Writer | December 11, 2020 1:00 AM

That familiar holiday sound is back — the jolly ringing of the Salvation Army Red Kettle bells.

Accompanied by smiling bell-ringers wishing passersby "Merry Christmas!" and "Happy holidays," the Red Kettles are an easy way to spread holiday cheer.

"I love giving back to the community," a jovial Connie Ann Vigil said Thursday, as she volunteered to ring the bell at the west entrance of the Fred Meyer in Coeur d'Alene.

Although a virtual campaign launched in October, the physical Red Kettles have only been out in the community about a week. The fundraising is down more than $43,000 from where it was this time last year.

Operation Rescue Christmas needs a few more heroes.

"Those kettle funds that stay in Kootenai County do so much to serve our community in need, everything from emergency services, including rental assistance, utility assistance,” Kroc Center assistant director Stacy Barney said. "It just runs the gamut, from Coeur d'Alene to Spirit Lake and Athol and all the way to Harrison."

The Red Kettles are critical to fundraising and outreach efforts throughout the year, especially in 2020 when so many are out of work.

“This shows how big the task at hand is for this season," Maj. Don Gilger said. "We have less ringers, less sites and less weeks in total, but the response from our community has always been amazing and we need all the help we can get to support our community for the upcoming year."

While pocket change is good, these kettles can accept all forms of giving, including checks and Canadian currency. People can digitally donate with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any Red Kettle.

Barney said consider the Red Kettles as "fancy mailboxes."

"People should think about those kettles not just to drop the coins in their pocket, but as a mailbox," she said. "You can put a check for a larger gift right into that kettle."

The Rescue Christmas Red Kettle campaign goes through Christmas Eve. The goal is $190,000. As of Thursday afternoon, $137,039 had been raised — 72% to the goal.

Visit to donate online.



A generous Fred Meyer patron on Thursday drops a $1 bill into a Salvation Army Red Kettle at Fred Meyer. The Rescue Christmas Red Kettle campaign is not quite to three-quarters of its fundraising goal and is behind where it was this time last year.