MEDFORD, Ore. -- Starting today, Salvation Army bell ringers will be collecting money for families in need. For the first time, people in Jackson County will be able to donate with cash, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The Kettle Kickoff Event will be at the Medford Center from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. The Salvation Army said donations are especially important this year because they're losing six days of kettling, which is equal to $50,000 dollars. They're hoping to raise that money at today's kickoff event. All donations go to families in need.
"We're making certain that families who really struggle just to meet their daily needs aren't overburdened with thinking about what they can do to make Christmas special for my kids," said Major Jason Koenig, the Jackson County Salvation Army Coordinator. Below is a schedule of the Kettle Kickoff Event.
Local businesses at the Medford Center will be open during the Kettle Kickoff Event. NewsWatch 12 spoke with one business owner who said she remember seeing the Salvation Army kettles as a little kid.
"For us to be able to hear the bells outside of our store and know that we're just a part of something bigger than ourselves is something exciting," said Timber & Tonic Co-founder Sunni Overacker.
The Salvation Army said their goal is to raise $170,000 this year.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Reading time with Elsa from Frozen & The Little Red Kettle book
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.- Preview of the Velveteen Rabbit from the cast of the Collaborative Theatre Project
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Local Artists: Singer Songwriters Gary Margason and Rob Diaz
2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Visit from Santa Claus
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - The Salvation Army Youth Brass Band/ North Medford High School Band Students/The Salvation Army Timbrels
Salvation Army needs more volunteers
Bell ringers will collect donations at 32 different places in Jackson County. The Salvation Army said they try to make the volunteer process as convenient as possible.
First you have to sign up for a time, date and location. Then, it's pretty easy. Volunteers just show up to the kettling location. The Salvation Army will bring everything a volunteer needs, including the kettle, bell and red apron.
Volunteers do need to commit at least two hours of time, but the Salvation Army said they're really trying to fill 8-hour days. That's why they suggest getting a group of friends together and splitting that shift.
To sign up to become a volunteer bell ringer click here. You can also call this number for more information: (541) 773-6965.