Salvation Army hosts 2013 Red Kettle kick-off event at Fountain Square

Salvation Army's 2013 Red Kettle Kick-off

CINCINNATI - Bell ringing, holiday cheer and the desire to help those in need lingered in the air around Fountain Square Wednesday during a special event hosted by one of the country's oldest nonprofit organizations.

WCPO's 9 First Warning meteorologist Sarah Walters joined dozens of people supporting the Salvation Army of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to kick off the 2013 Red Kettle campaign.

The charity drive, which dates to 1891 (San Francisco), enables the Salvation Army to provide food, toys and clothing to over 6 million people during the holiday season.

The initiative is the organization's largest fundraising campaign. It serves more than 34 million Americans recovering from various sorts of "personal disasters," according to the Salvation Army's website .

Many of those Americans reside in the Tri-State.

For the 2013 campaign, there are approximately 100 collection kettles throughout the Greater Cincinnati region that are accepting donations until Dec. 24. The local chapter of the organization hopes to raise $775,000 in 2013.

In order to reach that goal, Maj. Timothy Lyles says the organization needs the public's help more than ever.

“Thanksgiving, being a week later, has shortened our bell ringing season, so we have the same, sizable goal with a reduced amount of time to raise that money. So that is a bit of a concern, but we know people are generous, they always have been," Lyles said. "They will be this year and we believe we can reach our goal and help a lot of people.”

Lyles said the regional branch of the Salvation Army also needs volunteer bell-ringers.

Each year since 2001, VolunteerFIRST has teamed up with many Salvation Army Corps to make it possible for volunteers to register online for up to one million Red Kettle 'shifts' across the country.

If you can help, go to their website:

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