Salvation Army of the Midlands launches ‘Kettles for Ukraine’

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Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 12:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the war in Ukraine continues to take its toll on the Ukrainian people, The Salvation Army of the Midlands is stepping up its relief efforts through a new initiative.

The program, called Kettles for Ukraine, is a one-week initiative that will send 100 percent of proceeds directly to the Salvation Army World Services Office to support families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

This is the first time other than the traditional Christmas season that the Salvation Army of the Midlands has brought out the red kettles.

Major Mark Craddock, the Area Commander for the Salvation Army of the Midlands, said many Midlands residents were reaching out to the organization looking for ways to help. Donations can be made via the Salvation Army’s website, but in an effort to simplify the process, one advisory board member suggested reintroducing kettle sites.

“We’ve got this fantastic method of raising money that people recognize, and when they hear a bell they’re all like, ‘Woah, wait a minute the Salvation Army’s out here,’” Craddock said. “So we thought we could combine that desire to be helpful with a methodology that people are familiar with.”

The Salvation Army, an international organization, has teams on the ground at nine locations in Ukraine and the surrounding countries. They provide food and water supplies, clothes, blankets, spiritual care, and temporary lodging for refugees.

“As we like to say in the Salvation Army, they’re building hope,” Craddock said. “You’re talking about a war-torn area, we can’t understand that in the United States. But you’re talking about people who have been displaced from their homes because of a wartime situation. They can’t go home. And so they’re having to rebuild life in other places, and these support services, these funds that we’re sending are going to help the Salvation Army directly help Ukrainian refugees rebuild life. And it starts very simply. Here’s water. Here’s food. Here’s diapers for your kid. Here’s a place to sleep tonight that’s safe.”

Becky Kennette has rung bells for the Salvation Army in the past, and said she had to get involved in this unique fundraising initiative. She said it gives everybody “a sense of community.”

“To have that ability to reach out and be a segue to help support the international Salvation Army offices is a tremendous honor for myself,” she said.

Keith Axson, who donated to Kettles for Ukraine on Friday, said he felt it was important to give back.

“I was very surprised to walk up and see this,” he said. “Typically I donate during Christmas but this is an extremely great cause to do this. It’s very important for all of us to contribute to the cause. Unfortunate thing going on over there, so I felt like it was my responsibility to donate.”

Craddock said the response from the community has been impressive, but unsurprising. The Midlands is generous, he said.

The Salvation Army of the Midlands have a $10,000 goal for this initiative, and Craddock confident that it will be reached.

“We have a good understanding through our Christmas experience how much is in a kettle based on the weight,” he said. “And we can tell that the Kettles for Ukraine are about the same weight as a good Christmas kettle.”

If you’d like to contribute to relief efforts, there are multiple kettle sites throughout the day on Saturday.

The times and locations for these venues are listed below:

1. Lexington Beverage Co. at 929 N Lake Drive Suite A in Lexington from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

2. Lowes Home Improvement at 7441 Two Notch Road in Columbia from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

3. Craft and Draft at 7538 St. Andrews Road in Irmo from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

4. Greens’ at 400 Assembly Street in Columbia from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

5. Table Top Kettle at Craft and Draft at 2865 Devine Street in Columbia from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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