MARION – The holiday season is a time of red stockings, red ribbons, red-striped candy canes, Santa suits and Salvation Army collection kettles.
The first annual “Rock the Red Kettle” Salvation Army fundraiser was held at the Black Diamond Harley Davidson warehouse in Marion Thursday evening.
People were already arriving long before the 6p.m. start of the concert, and the admission donation was $ 10. There were T-shirts, and visitors could pose for a picture in front of the oversized red kettle.
All proceeds raised will go to help people in need of rent and utility assistance in the 22 southernmost counties of Illinois.
Salvation Army Social Services Coordinator Cami Horn is hopeful that the fundraiser will remind everyone of the tradition and purpose of the Salvation Army, and inspire more people not only to donate money, but also volunteer their time as bell ringers.
“A lot of people don’t realize that for the southern 22 counties, the red kettle is our funding. There is no national support for us. If we don’t raise it, we can’t distribute it.”
Horn receives calls every day from people who are desperate for help. She explains how a lost job, a cancer diagnosis, or a death in the family can result in a utility disconnect or an eviction notice.
“Kettle money is light and heat money,” she said.
Live music was provided by the Eli Tellor Band. Drummer and Longfellow School Principal Mike Horn was happy to help wife, Cami, drum up support for the worthy cause.
Principal Horn is aware of the need, and says they are very grateful to the large number of businesses who contribute. He wants to remind individuals to remember to give, especially during this holiday season.
“Maybe when people walk by the red kettle, they can think, ‘Oh yeah, I need to help out with that,'” he said.