The Salvation Army of Kent County Kicks off the 2021 Red Kettle Campaign on November 12

Nov 8, 2021

The inaugural ringing of the iconic bells for this Christmas season will take place at noon this Friday, Nov. 12, at The Salvation Army Kroc Center (2500 S. Division) as The Salvation Army of Kent County opens its annual Red Kettle Campaign with a local goal of raising $1.6 million. Donations to the campaign, which runs until January, will fund critical social services provided in Kent County at Christmastime and throughout 2022.

Highlights of Friday’s half-hour public event include:

  • Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss proclaiming Nov. 12, 2021, as “Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff Day”;
  • Mayor Bliss, Divisional Commander Major Glen Caddy, Salvation Army advisory board members, and a representative from SpartanNash simultaneously ringing the first bells of the season to begin the campaign;
  • A free lunch from Schnitz Deli served by The Salvation Army’s mobile kitchen, while supplies last;
  • Two local musicians – saxophonist Steve Spees and gospel singer Count Laws – performing;
  • The Salvation Army Brass Band, a crowd favorite, playing holiday favorites.

The need in the Grand Rapids area is still facing elevated levels due to impacts of the pandemic, and The Salvation Army remains on the frontlines of need to ensure Hope Marches On this holiday season. In Kent County, The Salvation Army has already served more than 12,000 individuals this year. The organization is preparing to assist over 1,500 families just this Christmas season alone, a level similar to 2020 and double that of a “normal” year.

“Again this year, we are counting on the generosity of the people of Grand Rapids and Kent County to help us help others,” Major Caddy said. “Hope Marches On can be more than a slogan. It can be a reality when we all work together to make the world a better place. Our long-time partnership with SpartanNash is a prime example of the good that can be done when we work in harmony to tackle the challenges in our community. Together we can make a difference.”

For over 20 years, bell ringers have been welcomed into the warmth of all SpartanNash stores – including Family Fare and D&W Fresh Market – throughout Michigan to make it more comfortable for bell ringers and easier for customers to make donations.

The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols for kettle sites to ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners. Every kettle site comes equipped with Kettle Pay, which allows donors to bump their phone and make a contactless donation via Google or Apple Pay.

Registrations are open for those in the community to be a volunteer bell ringer and can be completed by visiting More than 50 sites in Kent County have a need for bell ringers and bell ringing will run until Christmas Eve. Additionally, through the entirely contactless Virtual Red Kettle, donors can set up their own personal red kettle online and raise funds from their peers.

Donations to the Red Kettle Campaign can be made by visiting or calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. All donations stay within the community in which they are given.

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