Bellingham Salvation Army launches annual bell ringer campaign

Salvation Army bell ringers will brave the cold in Whatcom County starting Monday, Nov. 24, as the annual Christmas campaign kicks off with the goal of raising $175,000.

Look for them near the Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles, out in front of area stores. The campaign runs through Dec. 24.

The money will be used for programs and services that help the needy and provide cheer during the holidays.

This year’s kettle campaign goal is $5,000 more than last year.

“We see the need growing,” said Maj. James Lloyd, head of the Salvation Army in Bellingham.

The Christmas campaign, which includes direct mailing, is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Donations also will help give cheer during the holidays, including providing Christmas for about 500 families and buying gifts for children whose tags weren’t selected in the Angel Tree program.

Angel trees are Christmas trees with paper tags that have the age and gender of a child in need of a Christmas gift. People take a tag and buy a gift for that child.

Money raised through the campaign also is used for year-round programs and services that help the needy, including rental assistance, food through its food bank, and case management for those seeking a way out of their current predicament.

“Somewhat, we can say the amount of money determines the level of assistance for next year,” Lloyd said. “The needs are ever greater.”

Lloyd also is seeking volunteers for the Christmas effort.

To volunteer, call him at 360-733-1410.