Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

Bell ringers are collecting; $20 bill donations turn into $100 on Dec. 14

Dave Gorgon
– Wyandotte Warrior

The Salvation Army’s bell ringers are getting in place throughout the Downriver area for the holiday season. However, anyone planning to donate at least $20 into a local Red Kettle may want to consider Dec, 14 as the day to do it.

On that Saturday, every $20 bill donated will be matched by four more $20 bills by members of the Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club, turning each $20 donation into $100.

The venture is the first for the Wyandotte-based Downriver Salvation Army, which counts on donations throughout the holidays to provide services to the needy all year long.

Organizers said that the $20 donations must include $20 bills for the match to take place. The goal is to increase funds collected during the Red Kettle Campaign.

The Grosse Ile Country Club raised tens of thousands of dollars during a special fundraiser on Nov. 8 to provide funding for the match.

The partnership continues a connection between long-time club officer Leo Stevenson and The Salvation Army that has included fundraising, the creation of an endowment fund and the start of a soup kitchen.

Stevenson, a Wyandotte native and Grosse Ile resident, is managing director of wealth management at Merrill Lynch’s Wyandotte location.

The Salvation Army, founded in 1865 in England, is a faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving people in need. During the past year, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit provided nearly 2.5 million meals and more than 570,000 nights of shelter for the homeless. The agency uses 87 cents of every dollar raised to provide direct services to people in need every day of the year.

The Wyandotte community center is located at 1258 Biddle Avenue.

The Red Kettle Campaign “is a major fundraiser for us for the season and throughout the year,” said Major Brian Reed, who operates the Wyandotte location with his wife, Major Heidi Reed.

Reed said the “local fundraising goal for the Red Kettles is $255,000” and he is hopeful that the Downriver residents will show their support, especially during the $20 challenge on Dec, 14.

“I’m praying it’s going to be very successful,” he said. “This is the first time we’re doing it. We’ve heard other Salvation Army officers have had tremendous success. We’re excited about doing it in the Downriver area.”

The services provided by The Salvation Army are wide-ranging. Among them:

  • The lunchtime soup kitchen feeds about 60 people daily.
  • A before- and after-school latchkey program, which serves children attending Wyandotte Public Schools and their families. A bus transports students to and from school as a service to working parents.
  • A food pantry
  • Assistance with rent, paying utilities and medical and dental care, motor vehicle fuel and bus tickets.
  • An archery class teaches the basics of bow-and-arrow use to children and parents, including safety.
  • Air-rifle safety.
  • Meal sharing starting at noon Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Senior bingo from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays.
  • Youth groups from 4:30 to 6:30 Tuesdays.
  • A Christmas Assistance program distributes food to families and gifts to children. Registrations for Christmas help are accepted Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 12. Gifts also are delivered to 19 nursing homes in the area.
  • Coats were distributed free of charge to people of all ages on November 15.
  • Bible study and church services. Sunday school takes place at 9:45 a.m. Sundays. Church begins at 11 a.m. Both Reeds are second-generation ordained ministers.

For more information about The Salvation Army, call (877) SAL-MICH or visit the website

The Salvation Army is seeking bell ringers. Anyone ringing a bell during the Red Kettle Campaign can qualify for the “Ring for Bling” promotion. Winners will receive one of six diamond and gold vertical bar pendant necklaces donated by Lucido Fine Jewelers. The promotion is sponsored by iHeartMedia, located in Farmington Hills.

To volunteer to become a bell ringer, visit the website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *