The Salvation Army of Jefferson City is again ringing in the holiday season.
This year, it has a goal of pulling in $410,000 in donations, it announced Saturday morning during its annual Red Kettle Campaign kickoff event at Capital Mall.
Salvation Army corps officer Maj. Justin Windell said the campaign is now underway. The fundraising goal is just for Cole County and the surrounding area, he pointed out. It does't include Columbia anymore.
The goal is the same as last year, Windell said, adding, "We made it (in 2022). So that's doing pretty good."
Funds raised during the campaign stay in Mid-Missouri. They are used to feed the hungry, provide shelter for families and individuals, and to help with other programs the Salvation Army offers.
The Rape and Abuse Crisis Service (RACS) received recognition Saturday for being its top partner agency for the year.
"This year, they joined with us in creating the 'Good Night' program," Windell said. "Between the two agencies, we're able to provide beds when they successfully exit our program."
It's already difficult for people to find places to stay, he added. But they continued to stay around the shelter. Staff memers didn't understand why until they learned that people leaving the shelter may have found someplace to go, but they didn't have a bed to sleep on.
"With the help of the United Way, we were able to get a grant this year between us and RACS, and we were able to provide mattresses for those who successfully graduate our program," Windell said. "They are able to get a mattress, a box spring and a frame."
He added people don't understand that the Salvation Army shelter is not only a shelter, but a place for people to find restoration or a job or to work with clinical case managers.
"It's to be able to find a better way of life -- to be able to find a house," Windell said. "The house is actually the last thing. We help them with IDs. We help them with getting a job. If there is a substance abuse issue, we help them get into treatment."
All of the work leads up to the client being able to stay in a house once they find one.
The Salvation Army announced Terrye Kanellis was its volunteer of the year.
"She's one of our great volunteers," Windell said. "She's there almost every day and helps in every way she can."
Kanellis said she puts in a lot of hours -- volunteering at the Salvation Army's shelter, corps office and social services. And she does whatever she is asked to do. At the shelter, she often acts as a monitor. She performs clerical tasks at the offices. She also helps in the pantry.
"I've been volunteering with the Salvation Army for 38 years," she added.
That started when she was young and living in California. She was in Colorado for about 15 years.
"The Salvation Army saved my life," she explained. "I grew up as a satanist. When I left the satanist cult, I found the Salvation Army."
The officers' children invited Kanellis to go to church at the Salvation Army. She received a job (working at a camp) in the Salvation Army.
"The camp became my ministry," Kanellis said.
She has volunteered with the Salvation Army across the Western United States, even in Alaska and Hawaii.
The United Way and Salvation Army have been partners since the first United Way opened in 1925, according to United Way of Central Missouri President Lee Knernschield.
Knernschield said the United Way has valued their partnership ever since.
Locally, of the money the United Way has raised since 2004, $207,000 has gone to the Salvation Army, she said. That's how much the United Way values the Salvation Army's work, she continued.
She said when she was director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City (BBBS) and the nonprofit had a family in need of housing come in, BBBS would direct the family to the Salvation Army, knowing it would receive the resources it needed.
Knernschield said she thinks about how her parents donated to the red kettles during her childhood.
"My parents always contributed -- and put money into the red kettle. I did not realize the importance of that," she said. "Now I do. I encourage people -- when they hear that bell ringing -- take money out of their pockets and put in that red kettle."