St. Louis, Mo. – The 2016 Salvation Army Tree of Lights campaign is underway and the iconic red kettles and bell ringers will begin to appear throughout the Bi-state area on November 18. The financial goal of this year’s campaign, $6.1 million was announced at the kickoff luncheon November 3. The Tree of Lights campaign runs from November 1 to January 31.
“The Tree of Lights campaign is the largest annual fundraising event for The Salvation Army. Each season, volunteers from the St. Louis metro region give their time to help ring a bell at one of our red kettles,” said Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings, The Salvation Army Midland Divisional Commander. “The public’s donations in our red kettles are critical in funding our programs and services year round for women and children, seniors, youth, the homeless, our military veterans and during times of disasters.”
The Salvation Army will hold numerous events on Saturday, November 19, including two tree lighting ceremonies:
· Festival of Lights at Union Station begins at 3:30 p.m. Tree Lighting and Fireworks at 6:25 p.m.
· St. Charles County Salvation Army Tree Lighting Ceremony at Dardenne Prairie City Hall, 2032 Hanley Road, Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368 at 6 p.m.
In addition, St. Louis area high schools are taking part in the 4th annual Salvation Army High School Mascot Bell Ringing Challenge. High school students will be raising money for The Salvation Army by bell ringing on Saturday, November 19 at their local Walmart stores from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All monies raised during the Tree of Lights campaign stays local and 86 cents of every dollar goes directly into local programs and services. After funding holiday meals, gifts and programs for those in need, Tree of Lights donations help provide food, shelter, child care, job training and many other services throughout the year. The Tree of Lights campaign represents a substantial portion of The Salvation Army’s year-round operating budget.
Last year, The Salvation Army provided nearly over 107,000 meals to hungry men, women and children, nearly 85,000 nights of shelter to the community’s homeless, over 31,000 grocery orders to families in need, and over 95,000 Christmas toys and gifts.
2016 marks the 69th annual Tree of Lights campaign in the St. Louis region. Larry Otto, U.S. Bank St. Louis Market President will serve for the second consecutive year as the Tree of Lights Honorary Chair.
The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteer bell ringers this season. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to assist with this program. To sign up, volunteers can visit http://stlsalvationarmy.org/volunteer/ or call The Salvation Army Midland Division at 314-646-3166.
Each year The Salvation Army assists thousands of families in Missouri and Southern Illinois. To help, donations can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or online to the Tree of Lights Campaign at: stlsalvationarmy.org or text TREEOFLIGHTS TO 41444.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 86 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.