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Lend a hand any way you can

The peal of the Salvation Army bell is a distinctive sound of the season. It can be heard across a busy parking lot, drawing the attention of shoppers, encouraging them to pause for a moment and think of those who are less fortunate.

Yes, we will soon be hearing those bells ringing once again. The Salvation Army kicked off its Denton Red Kettle Campaign on Wednesday, and we urge readers to watch and listen as they make their annual holiday pilgrimages to area stores and to give generously.

Officials said they will place 28 kettles outside local stores and at Golden Triangle Mall during the holiday season to collect donations.

Money raised during the annual campaign helps the Salvation Army continue to provide programs and services to those in need in Denton County.

When we drop our dollars into those red kettles, the money funnels through to provide emergency financial assistance, Christmas assistance, a homeless shelter, a food pantry and support for other beneficial programs.

The Salvation Army in Denton hopes to raise $127,000 through its red kettle donations, this year, officials said.

And it all begins with individual donations — a dollar or two from a generous shopper here and a handful of change from a smiling child there.

But the important thing to remember is that all money given is used to help our neighbors.

“There’s not a better cause to raise money because it goes straight to the people who need it,”

University of North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal said Wednesday as he made a donation.

Villarreal was one of several special guests who attended Wednesday’s event, and he and representatives from Texas Woman’s University athletics said student athletes and coaches would be helping with the local campaign this year.

Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs and Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kamp were on hand with a city proclamation in support of the campaign, and Burroughs pointed out that the annual effort fills an important need in helping those who can be left behind in fast-growing Denton.

Kamp, who serves on the Salvation Army’s advisory board, encouraged people to sign up to help with the campaign.

The organization mans the kettles with as many volunteers as possible. When there aren’t enough volunteers, they have to pay people to help out.

It’s been our experience that extending a helping hand to others can truly expand one’s enjoyment of the holiday season, and signing up to don a Salvation Army apron is a great way to help. For more information about the campaign, or to volunteer, contact the Salvation Army at 940-566-3800.

“Please come ring the bell,” Kamp said. “It’s a fun thing to do.”

So, if you’ve ever wondered why the volunteers who man the red kettles always seem to be smiling, now’s your chance to find out.

Why not volunteer today to help during the coming campaign?