The Salvation Army of New Jersey's iconic red kettles will soon adorn street corners in front of grocery stores and malls. Bell ringers will be looking for donations to benefit people in need during the holiday season and year-round.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, the Salvation Army's third annual Kettle Kick-Off Campaign launches at four NJ Transit locations, featuring two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA Women's World Cup Champion, two-time FIFA Player of the Year and Jersey girl herself, Carli Lloyd, as honorary chairwoman.

Major Ivan Rock, state commander of the Salvation Army of New Jersey, says morning commuters at Newark Penn Station (where Lloyd, who is from Delran, will be stationed), Hamilton Station, Secaucus Junction and Trenton Transit Center will be treated with the red kettle stands, bell ringers, volunteers and live music to drive excitement in order to raise $2 million.

Rock says last year, $1.7 million was raised. He knows this year's goal will be tough but he says there are a lot more people looking to the Salvation Army for help —more families, single folks and kids, who need food, shelter and clothing.

The Red Kettle Campaign started in 1891 by a man named Capt. Joseph McFee, who ran a soup kitchen in San Francisco. He didn't have enough money for a Christmas dinner. So he went on a corner with his soup pot and a ladle, banged on the pot, asked for donations and earned enough money to have a Christmas meal for people who came to his soup kitchen.

It's been going strong every since, but Rock says some of the hardships The Red Kettle Campaign faces this year is that a lot of stores are closing, which gives them fewer locations to put a Salvation Army Red Kettle.

"People just don't carry cash like they used to. It's all plastic or online. And so there are kettles out there. We ask that when people see them, they take notice."

There are about 400 kettle locations around the state, mostly in front of grocery stores and malls. But if for some reason you can't find a kettle, he says you can text "NJKETTLE" to 41444 and make a donation.

Besides soup kitchens, feeding programs and shelters, the money raised from this kettle campaign will go to help other vital programs and services The Salvation Army of New Jersey has to offer.

Rock says what people don't know is that Salvation Army operates many character building programs for children. There are also English as a Second Language programs, emergency disaster services, and after-school and camp programs.

"We like to think of ourselves as the safety net for society. When people are in need we're there. We're going to help. It doesn't matter who they are, doesn't matter how they got there. If they're hungry, we're going to feed them. If they need clothes, we're going to give them clothes," says Rock.

He also says he is very appreciative of all donations and the volunteers who help. People really do step up when there's a need and that's important, says Rock.

For information on how to donate or become a volunteer, visit the Salvation Army of New Jersey's website at

Jen Ursillo is the midday news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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