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Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way – to $150,000

Whiteside County's Salvation Army kicks off red kettle campaign

STERLING – The Salvation Army got a festive start to its fundraising season, which this year has a goal of raising $150,000 by Christmas.

The Christ Lutheran School got folks in the mood as they sang holiday music at Thursday evening’s Red Kettle Campaign kickoff at Northland Mall.

Envoy DeShawn Johnson of Sterling is confident that volunteers can meet the goal, even though they fell about $12,000 short of the same goal last year. He knows they can do it, because they’ve done it before, he said, citing 2015 when the charity exceeded its goal of $130,000.

Among its plans for the money is its new after-school program for first- through sixth-graders, which it launched this fall, and its new Pathway of Hope program designed to work with low-income families to help break the cycle of poverty.

The local office also provides a food pantry, prescription and utility assistance, and holiday food baskets and toys.

“I know the community supports us and our needs,” Johnson said. “It’s about informing the community about what those needs are.”

To that end, he cited a new focus on social media, which allows the charity “to converse with people more frequently and let them see where their dollars are going.” Johnson said. The local Facebook page is updated weekly.

Also new this year: People can sponsor one of those distinctive red kettles.

Founded in 1883, this is the Christian charity’s 125th year; it has been service the Sterling and Whiteside County area since 1892.

Its office is at 409 Ave. F. Call 815-625-1622, go to or to donate, volunteer, or for more information on its programs.

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