Salvation Army tops goal for kettle drive

by W. Winston Skinner

The local Red Kettle drive for the Salvation Army brought in a record $64,000 - far above the goals set for the annual Christmas fundraisers.

Stephanie May, executive director of the Newnan Service Center of the Salvation Army, termed the collection 'amazing.' The Salvation Army headquarters in Atlanta had set a goal of $46,750 for the drive, and May said her personal goal was $50,000.

On Friday, May said close to $65,000 had been collected by bellringers at stores around Coweta County. The final number should be available sometime next week.

The collection this year is significantly higher than last year's total of $36,000. The Salvation Army's bellringers and red kettles have become iconic images at Christmas. The project started in 1891 in San Francisco and had spread across the country by 1897.

Some paid bellringers are used each year, but a large number of volunteers helped with this year's local Red Kettle drive. May said Newnan Rotary Club members helped, and there was a competition between White Oak Golden K and Kiwanis of Coweta to complete hours ringing the bell.

May said the money is collected in the county and goes back to help local people.

'It goes 110 percent back to the community for financial assistance and toward any local disasters,' she said.

The kettle funds help with housing, food and clothing for people in need. 'It all stays here in Coweta County,' she said.

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