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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester Salvation Army is kicking off its annual Christmas fundraising campaign today.

This is the 127th year for the traditional Red Kettle campaign in Olmsted County. Bell ringers will be out manning the donation kettles at locations throughout the community to help raise money to fund the local Salvation Army chapter's many programs year-round.

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM
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“Yes, the red kettles help us to provide holiday meals and Christmas presents, but they provide so much more than that,” said Major Cornell Voeller, Corps Officer for Business of The Salvation Army here in Olmsted County, “The Salvation Army exists to provide for the basic needs of people. What people don’t realize is that the dollars they raise when they ring bells are used to provide meals for hungry people, housing and housing support for persons who would otherwise be homeless, healthcare for the uninsured, all year long. Not just during the holiday season.”

There will be a high-tech addition to the Red Kettle campaign this year. The Salvation Army will be testing Tip Tap machines at the Hy-Vee Barlow location. A news release says it will allow people to donate using a credit card, cell phone, or smartwatch.

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Getty Images
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The Salvation Army is still in need of volunteer bell ringers. At the last report, there were approximately 5,000 hours of open bell ringing shifts available through the end of the campaign on December 23rd. Anyone wishing to volunteer can sign up by visiting www.registertoring or by calling the Rochester Salvation Army at 507-288-3663.

Minnesota’s Longest Drive-Thru Light Show

The Kiwanis Holiday Light Display is free to the public but cash and non-perishable food donations are accepted. All money collected is given to area non-profits. Since opening in 2012 the event has raised more than $500,000 for local charities.

Gallery Credit: troy dunken

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