At Central Mall and other Texarkana retail outlets, the sight and sound of a Salvation Army bell ringer and kettle are iconic this time of year.
No donation is too small, local officials say. Pennies add up when dropped in the bucket.
And while those donations are sorely needed, so are volunteers to man the kettles. It is not too late to help. Register online at registertoring.com.
"All the money that comes through our kettle drive helps fund Salvation Army activities for the following year," said Major Tracey Czajkowski, corps officer with the Salvation Army. "Every little bit helps. You would be amazed how a few pennies start stacking up."
For those who do want to participate in the donating side of the kettle drive, there are more ways to do so than dropping a handful of coins or pushing a few bills into the kettles themselves.
"For those with Alexa, you can say, 'Alexa, donate amount of your choice to Salvation Army Texarkana," she said. "You can text 91999, text 'kettles' for another donation route. Also, you can go to salvationarmytexas.org exarkana, create a virtual kettle for yourself and others in which to donate."
The Salvation Army needs volunteers in other areas as well.
"We always need volunteers year-round for food pantry volunteers," Czajkowski said. "They help pack food boxes for families in need."
The Salvation Army's greatest need of volunteers is from October to the end of December.
"We have our angel trees set up in the community, each angel representing a child in need," she said. "The families registered with us in October, so we set up these trees with each angel representing a child from those families. Our main one is at Central Mall. There are also others at various churches, civic organizations and businesses. We need people to adopt those angels and provide those needs."
Those who adopt an angel bring the needed items back to the tree or directly to the Salvation Army. The due date is Dec. 11.
"Once we have all the items, we then need to deliver the gifts," Czajkowski said. "We will need volunteers for warehouse help to sort the gifts and then get them delivered to the families in need."
(For more information on how you can help, call 870-774-2701. The Salvation Army office is located at 400 E. Fourth St., Texarkana, Arkansas.)