Salvation Army kettle drive a success

PARKERSBURG – With the aid of the community the Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps was able to not only meet but exceed its goal for the 2012 red kettles fundraising drive.

The 2012 red kettle campaign raised $172,364 between its start date of Veterans Day and noon on Christmas Eve when it ended, said Lt. Mechelle Henry with the Corps. The campaign’s goal was $165,000.

“We are very pleased and surprised with how people truly gave to our Christmas effort,” said Henry. “We are new here and really feel the generosity of the community.”

The Henry family, which includes Mechelle and Erik Henry, lieutenants who run the local organization together, and their three sons Samuel, Jacob and Nicklas, came to the Parkersburg area in June from the Salvation Army in Charleston.

“We have only been in the Mid-Ohio Valley for seven months and weren’t sure how the community would feel toward us or if they would give as readily to the red kettles, but we have been overwhelemed by the response,” Mechelle Henry said. “It was a pleasant surprise to see the support.”

The funds raised during the annual red kettle campaign helped the organization provide about 1,500 families with social services assistance and toys and gifts for nearly 5,000 children and senior citizens over the holiday season throughout the Salvation Army’s coverage region. The Corps aids families and individuals in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.

The red kettle money goes to purchasing a meal basket for each family as well as holiday gifts for children under the age of 12 whose cards were not taken from the Angel Trees by good samaritans. Those funds also help to assist more than 5,000 individuals with rent, food, prescriptions, utility and clothing needs throughout the year, Henry said.

“While the red kettles are only out during the holiday season, the change people put in them does good all year long,” she said. “We cannot say enough to thank the people who gave money and time volunteering to the red kettles and the Christmas program.”