Colder weather fuels a red kettle return

10:51 PM, Feb 3, 2013   |    comments
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PLYMOUTH, Minn. - A familiar sound returned to the Twin Cities area Saturday, as The Salvation Army rolled out their red kettles for an 'emergency' fundraising drive.

"We only put our kettles out for emergencies other than at Christmas time," said Major Jeff Strickler, the Twin Cities Commander of The Salvation Army.

Strickler noted the last 'emergency' warranting the red kettle return was the earthquake in Haiti. This time, the crisis was a little closer to home. 

"We wanted to get our kettles out and do what we could to help keep people warm this cold winter," Strickler said.

According to Strickler, about 40 thousand families requested assistance with paying for heat last year. The Salvation Army was able to help only about 4,200 families. And this year, they believe the demand is, and will be, even greater.

"With the colder winter weather here, it's going to grow," he said.

And so the local chapter of The Salvation Army sought -- and received -- organization approval to return the red kettles to dozens of area Cub Foods stores Saturday for one day only. CenterPoint Energy also pledged to triple the kettle donations, up to 30 thousand dollars.

"We want to help our customers who can't afford to pay their heating bills," said Becca Virden with CenterPoint Energy.

The Salvation Army's HeatShare program assists families who are not able to cover their heatings costs. But Strickler noted the local charity is seeing greater demand across the board.

"In our shelters, we've seen them go from an average of 450 to 750 a night," he said.

For more information about the HeatShare program, including how you can donate by simply watching a video, just go to:

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