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Bells will be ringing this weekend – next to red kettles

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A red kettle campaign? That rings a bell.

Or about 1,000 of them in the Twin Cities area. The Salvation Army is launching its red kettle fundraising drive this weekend and the Pioneer Press says the number of bell ringers in the metro area will be close to a thousand.

It's part of a 28-day effort to raise $3 million for the Salvation Army to help those in need during the holiday season and beyond.

The Salvation Army says its tradition of collecting donations in kettles alongside bell ringers dates back to 1891. It started in the San Francisco Bay area but has now spread around the world.

Local Salvation Army chapters each have their own fundraising goals. In Austin, for example, there's a comparatively ambitious goal of $170,000, which the Austin Herald says would help pay for a relocation of the Salvation Army's undersized offices and food shelf.

Is pre-Thanksgiving bell ringing jumping the gun a little? The Army's case manager in Owatonna, Gina Shepherd, tells the People's Press "We usually start in grocery stores. We know they're busy ahead of Thanksgiving."

The Salvation Army says donations during the holidays help cover Christmas dinners, clothing, and toys for families. Donations are also used throughout the year for expenses including rent, groceries, and gas vouchers.

Shepherd tells the People's Press volunteer bell ringers are important to the success of the drive. She says last year one unattended kettle brought in 38 cents in donations, while a kettle staffed with bell ringers all day was stuffed with more than $500.

The Pioneer Press says in Minneapolis on Saturday night the Lowry Ave. and 35W bridges will be bathed in red light in honor of the start of the red kettle campaign.

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