The local Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign raised $289,000 during the Christmas season — $19,000 more than its goal.
That success was a community effort — a credit not only to the Salvation Army and the campaign organizers, but to the volunteer bell ringers and businesses that supported the program. And last, but not least, it's a credit to the community's generosity.
Topping the goal also validates the organization's work. It shows that, based on the Salvation Army's track record in Jefferson City, residents believe their dollars are being well-spent. The organization's Center for Hope provides shelter for men, women and parents with children, including veterans, seniors and victims of domestic violence.
Among other things, the Salvation Army also has a large food pantry that is one of the main providers of food to needy local residents.
In a story last week, we reported Bernie Fechtel, president of Fechtel Beverage and chairman of the campaign, said: "The generosity of our community is truly an example for all of us to embrace. The work that this generosity will enable The Salvation Army to do is so desperately needed by those just needing a hand up."
The annual campaign is fueled by volunteers: 1,074 people spent 1,366 hours ringing bells to collect donations.
For the fourth consecutive year, Dragon Kitchen raised the most money among businesses that hosted Countertop Red Kettles. Lts. Christopher and Rachel White, corp officers with The Salvation Army, will present the award at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the restaurant, located at 2219 Missouri Blvd. in Jefferson City.
Here Today, 2233 Missouri Blvd., ranked second; and Nick's Family Restaurant, 500 Airport Road ranked third. Fifteen businesses participated in the Countertop Red Kettle campaign, raising $1,146.37.
We commend everyone involved for their work, dedication and donations to an organization that makes our community a better place to live.