Golden Kettle Gala kicks off The Salvation Army’s season of giving

SKIDAWAY ISLAND, Ga. – It’s that time of year again.

If you get within an earshot of dozens of businesses over the next month, you’ll hear a distinct ringing of bells.

Yes, those bells.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is back. From November 14 – December 23, the campaign promises to raised a quarter million dollars to go directly to programming.

Here in Savannah, the campaign was kicked off with the annual Golden Kettle Gala at the Landings Plantation Club on Skidaway Island on Tuesday night.

“When you think of the kettles it’s something that we all can count the blessings that we have in life and it’s a way for people to give back,” Major Phil Swyer said. “Salvation Army is the largest provider of emergency housing and largest provider for meals served on a daily basis throughout the year.”

This year the gala featured former Atlanta Falcon, Steve Bartkowski.

Speaking on the impact The Salvation Army has had on his life he said, “There’s not a more worthwhile organization in my opinion who really do meet people where they are.”

Bartkowski said the mindset of giving changes everything.

“You can’t take it with you, I’ve never seen a hearse pull a U-Haul so we can send it on ahead of us,” he said.

This year’s focus aimed to close the gap on the “Raise the Roof” campaign which intends to replace the roof at the organizations Montgomery Street location. The total cost is $175 thousand. So far more than 100 thousand dollars has been raised for the roof. The goal for the gala is to close the gap and secure total funding for the roof.

Anthony Dixon used to sleep under that roof.

“Where would I be without the Salvation Army,” Dixon asked. “Probably dead.”

After spending 15 year in prison he says The Salvation Army saved him. Now he’s been working for the organization for four years and now wants more people to benefit from The Salvation Army like he has.

“They trust a convicted felon who has changed his life, a recovering alcoholic to do that,” he explained. He credits his success to his faith in God and the persistence of those at The Salvation Army.

“I am not unique and I am not special. I am just one of the miracles of this place. That’s why when you see a red kettle put some money in that kettle because somebody’s getting ready to get out of jail, get out of prison, walk out from under the bridge and need a place to stay.”

To sign up to volunteer call 912-651-7420. Those interested in seasonal employment by becoming a bell ringer need to fill out an application at 3100 Montgomery Street in Savannah.



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