Falls Salvation Army holding "Battle of the Bells"

James Neiss/staff photographerIn this file photo from last year, Niagara Falls Salvation Army Major Steve Carroll showed off $160 in silver dollars, Susan B. Anthony dollars and half dollars that were donated at a store on Military Road as part of the Red Kettle fundraising drive last year. This year's Red Kettle campaign kicks off with a special "Battle of the Bells," which will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Fashion Outlets. 

The Salvation Army is celebrating 130 years of serving the people of Niagara Falls and the wider community as part of a special event set for Thursday at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

The Salvation Army and 10 other community groups will be hosting a Red Kettle fundraising contest from 4 to 6 p.m. The iconic Red Kettles will be set up within feet of each and representatives from the participating organizations will be competing for the community’s donations, all hoping to claim the title of the 2019 Battle of the Bells Champion.

The organization hosted a “Battle of the Bells” last year with Niagara Falls City council members Chris Voccio, Kenny Tomkins, and Ezra Scott, as part of its annual "Red Kettle Kick off." The event was so well received that the organization decided that this year it would make the ‘Battle of the Bells’ the Red Kettle Kickoff for the season.

“We moved most of our annual awards and recognition to a volunteer recognition dinner in January so that we could focus one event at a time” said Major Steve Carroll, commanding officer for The Salvation Army in Greater Niagara. “We are so excited to have such a variety of community groups and individuals involved in this year’s event." 

Ten groups have agreed to host kettles at this event Including: The Justice League of WNY (cause-players costumed superheroes); Lewis Custode (award-winning jazz musician); Niagara Falls First Assembly (church); Town of Niagara Busiuness and Professional Association; Niagara LaSalle Lodge #132 F.&A.M. (Freemasons); the Niagara Gazette newspaper; the Kiwanis Club of Niagara Falls (Service Club); the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston (service club); the Marine Corps League 2nd Lt. John Paul Bobo Detachment 1118 (veterans group) and Niagara Pioneer Soccer League.

Each group will be working their spot, trying to bring in donations and having a lot of fun in the process. Some will be ‘dressing up’ for the occasion others will be giving away prizes. Some of the groups have even started stuffing their pot a little early.

In addition to the red kettles, there will be several other fun activities as part of the Salvation Army’s 130th Christmas Season, including live music, face painting, and balloon animals. Each donor who gives more than $10 will also receive a discount card that is usable at 12 local restaurants and business throughout Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara through March 31, 2020.

The funds raised at this event and the Red Kettles throughout Niagara Falls directly support the Salvation Army’s services in the Falls and the surround communities.

For more information, contact Major Steve Carroll at The Salvation Army, 716-283-7697.


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