Salvation Army Bell ringers officially began earlier this month, but officials say this week is when things really start to pick up.
"Really for the Christmas campaign people don’t think about making donations until it gets closer to Thanksgiving and then after that Christmas," said Salvation Army Midland Division Spokesman Will Becker. "The main part of our push comes between Thanksgiving and Christmas and so that’s when we see the most giving and the most volunteers at our kettles and that type of thing."
The first red kettle was in 1891. Fast forward to 2008 and technology has changed the classic red kettle campaign.
"People can sign up to have a virtual kettle an online red kettle," Becker said. "It’s a way for people to ring from home if they don’t want to get out in the cold weather or don’t have time to ring bells for a couple of hours. They can set up an online red kettle and then send out an e-mail to friends and family and co-workers encouraging them to donate to their kettle. It’s just another way to reach different people out there."
In addition to a virtual kettle, the Salvation Army is experimenting with text message giving. They hope to have the program set up in the St. Louis area by Thursday.
"If they’re walking past a kettle, there could a phone number for people to dial and send a text message and that would come off their cell phone bill," Becker said. "We’re hoping to have that here in St. Louis by Thanksgiving. It’s being tested in some different markets and we’re hoping that it’s a possibility here."