MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A bell rang and the trombone played on in front of Rural King on Saturday as the Salvation Army of Marion, Monongalia and Preston Counties tried to raise funds for its Red Kettle Campaign.

The annual campaign is how the organization raises most of its funds for the next fiscal year. Lt. Nicole Greenland, Salvation Army, said this year they are hoping to raise more money than usual because there is a greater need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this was also reflected in their demands for the Angel Tree campaign, which has members of the public volunteer to buy a holiday gift for children who sign up.

“It’s rescue Christmas and as you can see, you can hear the bells out and we are all around the Morgantown area, in Fairmont and also in Kingwood,” Greenland said. “We would like for you guys to help us rescue Christmas because the need is now greater than before. With COVID, everyone has been hit, so we need your help drastically to help us rescue Christmas.”

Greenland said members of the public can donate in person by dropping money in the kettle, or, more conveniently, they can do so online. There are a few ways to donate online, one is through the organization’s Facebook page, where there is a donation link. The other method is to visit the donation page directly.

“Donate, it doesn’t matter how much you donate, every little bit counts,” Greenland said. “We will really appreciate it.”

This year donors have the chance to create their own Red Kettle team, or they can join one to create a stronger sense of community, Greenland said.

Angel Tree at Morgantown Mall

As for Angel Tree, Greenland said, there are many around town and the public can pick as many children as they want to buy gifts for. The locations around Morgantown are:

  • Morgantown Mall
  • Mountaineer Mall
  • Shoney’s (Sabraton)
  • Walmart (University Town Center)
  • Clear Mountain Bank (Venture Dr)
  • Morgantown Library (Downtown)

Greenland said all the gifts and funds collected will stay in the counties it serves, so those who help should know they are helping their neighbors and community members.

“We don’t know what our neighbors are going through so everyone has been — especially during this time, has been affected by COVID-19,” Greenland said. “So we see a lot of new people signing up for Angel Tree and our different programs. The need is great so we need you to help us to rescue Christmas.”

Greenland said there is also a need for volunteers to help ring bells, participate in the virtual kettle, or help with the many other efforts the organization is involved with.

For example, she said, the Salvation Army will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need on Nov. 25 in its parking lot in Morgantown. West Virginia University athletics administrators will be there to serve a sit-down meal. All CDC guidelines will be followed to the letter; mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing will be enforced.