Kettle Spotlight: Big news in Rochester, MN and Grand Forks, ND

Dec 9, 2020

Although the pandemic is taking its toll on red kettles this Christmas season, fantastic things are still happening throughout The Salvation Army Northern Division – including recent events in Rochester, Minn. and Grand Forks, N.D.

Rockin’ the Rochester kettles

On Friday, Major Bob Mueller of the Rochester Salvation Army raised nearly $17,000 in just four hours of bell ringing at a local Walmart during the first-ever National Commander Red Kettle Challenge.  

Significant donations were made to Mueller’s kettle by Bremer Bank ($5,000), members of the Rochester Salvation Army board of directors, and many Walmart customers.

“I continue to be amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity of this community,” said Mueller (pictured). “The results of the National Commander’s Red Kettle Challenge prove that Rochester is indeed a City of Compassion. Thank you to everyone for helping our neighbors in need.”

Mueller placed 10th out of the multitude of Salvation Army officers who participated in the challenge nationwide. The top officer raised just over $38,000 at a red kettle in Omaha, Neb. Overall, the event raised more than $540,000.  


Hearts of gold in Grand Forks 

On Monday, an anonymous donor dropped a 1-ounce gold coin into a red kettle at Scheels sporting goods in Grand Forks, N.D. 

The donation prompted local business Interstate Towing & Recovery to issue an incredible challenge: Any single 1-ounce gold coin or bar donated to the Grand Forks Salvation Army through Dec. 24 will be matched with the 1-ounce 24K Gold U.S. Mint Proof Buffalo pictured at right. The coin’s value is $2,000.

At least one gold coin is dropped into a Grand Forks kettle almost every year. Three such coins were found last Christmas, including two solid gold Canadian Maple Leaf coins valued at nearly $2,000 each.  

“A big red kettle thanks to all of the donors who’ve given gold coins in recent years, and to Interstate Towing for offering their unprecedented challenge,” said Lt. Matthew Beatty, leader of the Grand Forks Salvation Army. 

Be a bell ringer

With just two weeks left in the kettle season, the time to sign up to bell ring is now.

Your help is desperately needed: The number of volunteer bell ringers has dropped 15 percent compared to last year, resulting in thousands upon thousands of dollars of lost donations. 

Bell ringing is a fun and safe fundraising activity that now includes enhanced social distancing and sanitization measures, with Apple Pay and Google Pay options for touchless giving. During a two-hour shift, you’ll raise an average of $60 for Salvation Army services – enough money to provide a day’s worth of food and shelter for a person experiencing homelessness. 

No time to ring? There are many other ways to help The Salvation Army Rescue Christmas for families in need. 

Enlist in Love’s Army by giving a donation or ringing bells at a red kettle. Your gifts of time and money will help Rescue Christmas for people and families struggling to get through the pandemic.  

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