Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff in Dothan

The Salvation Army kicked off its local fundraising drive in Dothan.

Bell ringers hit the stores and malls in Dothan to raise money for families in need. They're hoping to raise even more money than last year.

Christmas Kettle Director Morris Bates said, “It was a record setting year; we collected $133,000. We were able to help 1000 families that signed up that needed help and to us, that was just an awesome year.”

In fact, area shoppers have been increasingly generous over the last three years. In 2004, the bell ringers collected over $100,000 dollars and in 2005, the pot increased to $129,000 dollars.

Captain Mark Gilliam, with the Salvation Army, said, “We can't do it without this community’s support. That's why the bells are out there, the kettles are out there, why they're ringing today and the money that's raised stays locally to help people in our community.”

Kettles are located at 12 different locations throughout the city to give shoppers an opportunity to share.

For some bell ringers, it's their first time. For others, it's a family tradition.

Volunteer Rena Payne said, “I've been doing this since 2003; it's a family tradition. Me and my husband and two of our children are ringing this year.”

And, the Salvation Army is hoping that local shoppers will make giving a tradition as well.

Nationally, the Salvation Army has been ringing bells for over 100 years. Locally, the tradition started back in 1912.

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