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Salvation Army opens Red Kettle Campaign drive, sets the bells ringing at stores

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Carol Regnier, left, makes a gift while volunteer Debra Vickers rings the bell for donations as part of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive at The Andersons on Talmadge Road at Monroe Street.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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The familiar “clang, clang, clang” can mean only one thing: It’s the season of the Salvation Army’s 2012 Red Kettle Campaign.

The organization kicked off its annual holiday fund-raising efforts by setting up stations outside businesses in northwest Ohio on Thursday. This year’s goal is to raise $570,000, said Salvation Army Capt. Kevin Zanders. The organization collected $550,000 in 2011.

“The need is great, but the people in this area of Toledo have been so great in the past,” Mr. Zanders said during a kick-off ceremony at The Andersons general store in Maumee.

Funds raised will be used to provide area families with food, toys, and clothing at Christmas, Salvation Army officials said. Funds are also used to stock the organization’s food pantry and run youth programs, outreach ministries, and other emergency services.

“This is a real grass-roots effort,” said Dan Anderson, this year’s honorary campaign chairman. “They raise money one dime, one quarter, one dollar at a time."

A total of 56 Red Kettle stations will be at Toledo-area businesses through Dec. 24, Mr. Zanders said. Sites include Kmart, Walgreens, Hobby Lobby, Bass Pro, Sam’s Club, The Andersons, Walmart, Big Lots, and Kroger.

Donations also can be made by calling the Salvation Army at 419-241-1138. Donations of $10 can be made by texting the code number 80888 and typing the words, “change Toledo.”

The Salvation Army provides services to five counties in the northwest Ohio area, including Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Henry, and Fulton. The organization served more than 205,500 people in the fiscal year from October, 2010, through September, 2011, according to the organization’s 2011 Annual Report.

Maria Gardiner, who was shopping at The Andersons on Thursday, said the familiar sounds emanating from red kettle remind her to be grateful for the things she has. “It reminds me that the holidays are not far away,” she said. “It also reminds me that there are a lot of people in need.”

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-304-7589.

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