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Salvation Army kicks off red kettle campaign

By Sonny Long
Nov. 18, 2011 at 5:18 a.m.

Victoria Police Chief JJ Craig, left, makes the ceremonial first drop in the bucket Friday morning under the watchful eye of the Salvation Army's Major Ernest Lozano.

RED KETTLEs in VICTORIA

Walmart SuperCenter

Sam's Club

Walgreens (all four Victoria locations)

U.S. Post Office, Sam Houston location

Victoria Mall (inside at the Angel Tree)

JC Penney

Hobby Lobby

Big Lots

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, call the Salvation Army at 361-576-1297.

Eddie Newman loves to see the children smile when they plunk a few coins into the Salvation Army's red kettle.

"Sometimes I let them ring the bell, too," said Newman, who has volunteered with the Salvation Army for more than 20 years. "They like to ring the bell."

Newman was among the volunteers and others who gathered Friday morning in front of the Walmart SuperCenter for the official opening of the 2011 Salvation Army Kettle Campaign.

Victoria Police Chief JJ Craig made the ceremonial first drop in the bucket contribution to the campaign, which has set a local goal of $75,000.

"The Salvation Army is an outstanding organization that's out in the community, working hard," Craig said. "They not only talk the talk, but walk the walk."

"It's an honor for me to be here and be a part of the kettle kickoff," Craig said. "We appreciate all the work the Salvation Army does for the community. I remember seeing the kettles as a child and the spirit of giving that was so prevalent."

Major Ernest Lozano, commander of the local Salvation Army, thanked Craig for taking part in the ceremony and said, "It's so good to get this pot boiling and we're going to need it. The Lord is going to bless us with a special season of giving and receiving."

Lozano said the Salvation Army is committed to assisting the eligible families who have applied for assistance with a Christmas food basket as well as toys and clothing for the children.

The Salvation Army red kettle campaign is in its 120th year.

Newman said it's the people he meets that keeps him coming back to volunteer for bell ringing duty.

"I say 'God bless you' to all of them," he said.

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