Salvation Army’s annual holiday red kettle campaign launches
Albert Lea Christmas lights show to collect donations for organization’s food shelf
The Salvation Army of Albert Lea has launched its annual red kettle campaign, with the goal of raising $89,000, according to Kathy Belshan.
Donations can be made to the kettles, which will be out from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday through noon Dec. 24 at Hy-Vee, Bomgaars, Walmart and Trail’s Travel Center. Other Christmas donations will be accepted through the end of the year. In addition to collecting cash and change, kettle signs are now equipped with Apple and Google Pay, so donors can use their phones to donate at the kettle sites.
For those who may be avoiding in-person shopping due to the pandemic, donations can be made online at salvationarmynorth.org/albertlea. Donors can also send checks to the local office at 302 Court St., Albert Lea, MN 56007. The red kettle match day will be Dec. 19.
For those looking to donate toys without shopping in-person, they can buy items online at walmartangeltree.com. Once on the site, enter 56007 in the zip code box and Angel Tree of Albert Lea should pop up. Gifts purchased that way will then be sent directly to the Albert Lea Salvation Army office.
Belshan said bell ringers are still needed. Volunteers can sign up by calling 507-373-5710 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or they can go to salvationarmynorth.org/albertlea and select the volunteer button. Bell ringers are asked to watch a video explaining new procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which include sanitizing kettle equipment before each shift, all bell ringers wearing face masks at all times while by the kettle and maintaining social distancing, among others.
The Salvation Army is getting an extra boost to its donations this season, as the Carter Christmas Lights Show in Albert Lea will collect donations for the Salvation Army’s food shelf.
“We feel that no family should ever go hungry, especially during the holiday season. The COVID pandemic has definitely impacted many in our community in varying ways,” Mike Carter said. “For those facing a difficult time, we wanted this year’s donations to (be) put towards a cause that helps solve the hunger challenges in our area. The local branch of the Salvation Army is a well-established organization with an existing food shelf, so it was a perfect fit.”
The lights show, at 1905 Brookside Drive in Albert Lea, runs every 10 minutes from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through the end of the year. Those attending the show are asked to use Bayview Drive to circle around so that the display is on the right side of the car to keep traffic flowing.
The show, put together by Mike and Freddy Carter, is in its third year and chooses a different cause or recipient to raise money for each year. A Rudolph bucket at the show collects the donations, or those looking to donate can also go to www.carterxmas.com.
The show — which uses over 38,000 lights and other components in the 100% LED display — will be set to four songs this year: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Pentatonix, “Christmas Soul” by Ross Lynch, “My Favorite Things” by Kylie Cantrall and “Run, Run Rudolph” by Kelly Clarkson.
While the lights show is already pretty “pandemic friendly,” Mike Carter said those attending are asked to respect social distancing guidelines if getting out to look at or take pictures of the lights in between shows. He said they do anticipate more traffic this year, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, and suggested those looking to avoid possible groups or crowds of people to see the show during the week or later on the weekends.
“We deeply appreciate our neighbors’ support, all of the community interest and wish everyone a ‘Happy Holidays,’” Mike Carter said.
Salvation Army Albert Lea kettle locations
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday through noon Dec. 24
Where: Hy-Vee, 2708 Bridge Ave.; Bomgaars, 1721 W. Main St.; Walmart, 1550 Blake Ave.; and Trail’s Travel Center, 820 Happy Trails Lane
Carter Christmas Lights Show
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through the end of the year. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day shows will run until 10 p.m.
Where: 1905 Brookside Drive
How much: no cost to attend, but donations will be collected for the Salvation Army’s food shelf