NEWBURYPORT — For more than 100 years, The Salvation Army has rung bells to celebrate the holidays and help the needy.
This year, their bells have been ringing since Nov. 12 all over the region, at the red kettles in which they accept donations.
But that’s not the only way to donate. The Daily News of Newburyport is once again hosting its annual Holiday Fund to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Newburyport chapter. Every cent that is donated by our readers is given to the Salvation Army for purposes such as providing food, housing, heat and other needs for needy people in the region.
In the decades that The Daily News and its sister papers, The Salem News and Gloucester Daily Times, have been hosting the fundraiser, tens of thousands of dollars have been given to Salvation Army chapters serving North Shore residents.
Readers can contribute through this newspaper by sending a check made out to “Salvation Army Holiday Fund” to: Newburyport Daily News, 23 Liberty St., Newburyport, MA 01950.
Since the fund goes to several different Salvation Army chapters, contributors should indicate in the memo line of the check, or in an enclosed note, which community they would like their contribution to go to: that covered by The Salem News, the Gloucester Daily Times or The Daily News of Newburyport.
In the meantime, the Salvation Army is in the midst of its biggest fundraiser of the year, the kettle drive. While the holiday season only lasts a few weeks, the donations collected during this time make a difference all year.
“It’s the most important fundraiser, to keep us open and operating,” said Capt. Scott McNeil of The Salvation Army in Salem.
Kettles are set up in front of a variety of locations in Newburyport, such as Market Basket, K-Mart, Richdale and Starbucks.
For the first time, the Salvation Army is also hosting an “online kettle drive.” Donations can be made by going to the website http://www.onlineredkettle.org/newburyport.
Through their Angel Trees program, The Salvation Army also tries to make the holidays special for children by providing not just any gift, but the one they really want for Christmas. Angel Trees are Christmas trees, placed at local businesses, that are decorated with slips of paper on which children have written a gift request. Members of the public are invited to buy the present a child has asked for, then return it with the slip to make some youngster’s Christmas dreams come true.
Anyone who would like to participate but can’t find an Angel Tree is welcome to call The Salvation Army’s Newburyport office and ask for a gift request.
The Salvation Army’s mission extends beyond the holidays, to running a food pantry and covering basic needs like fuel assistance and warm clothes, and providing rent and utility assistance in emergencies.
That’s why it’s important to make donations, not only with the holidays in mind, but with an eye toward the work The Salvation Army does all year.
“We’re here helping people with need without discrimination. We don’t care what their lifestyle is or what life choices they’ve made. If they’re in need, we want to help them,” said McNeil.