Salvation Army celebrates its Red Kettle Kick-Off

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s time to break out the bells.

The Salvation Army rang in its Christmas campaign Thursday night in downtown Wichita. The Red Kettle Kick-Off brought together people looking to give back this holiday season.

There were holiday carols, speeches and music featuring the Friends University Quartet and the Salvation Army Citadel Corps Band.

And like other years, they’re trying to get people donating as much as they can for those who need it the most.

“The outpouring of compassion that we’ve had for people that don’t have basic needs to survive that need shelter, that need food, that need nutrition, that actually may need foster care assistance or veterans that need assistance, we do a variety of things,” said Craig Davis, community engagement director for the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army officials say, their goal is to raise $1.4 million this Christmas season.

They hope $400,000 will be through bell-ringing funds.

And, chances are, if you’re doing any shopping in Sedgwick County this holiday season, you’ll run into Kevin Faires.

For the 13th year in a row, he is a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

“Just being respectful and everything to everybody that walked up and as they was leaving, giving them grace,” said Faires.

So, how did he take on his holiday duty?

“It was a dare and a bet,” he said.

That challenge from his motorcycle club came the same year Faires’ life took a scary turn.

“I ended up in a bike wreck that almost put me in a wheelchair,” said Faires. “I finally decided, if He’s showing His point, His loyalty to me as my father, I need to give Him the same respect and loyalty and honor.”

For that reason, whether it’s rain or shine, nothing will stop Faires from raising money for those in need.

“As long as I’m still breathing, walking or even if I’m in a wheelchair, I’ll be out here doing what they need,” he said.

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