Area mayors participated in the Salvation Army Red Kettle Program


The familiar red kettles that are usually spotted at local Walmarts have been back in Johnson County since Nov. 17.

Wednesday, however, was the Red Kettle Kickoff, which was supported by North Liberty’s Mayor Amy Nielsen, Coralville’s Mayor Pro-Tem Mitch Gross, and Iowa City’s Mayor Matt Hayek.

“[Yesterday] was just an acknowledgement from us to the committee that we’re starting,” said Lt. William Richardson, who is the head of the Iowa City Salvation Army. “This is the first time we’ve worked with the mayors here. They came and were a part of the ceremony and also helped to ring the bells.”

Area mayors have partnered with the Salvation Army before.

Richardson said the mayors being involved in the program helps to get the word out about the Salvation Army and its program.

“It’s a way for us to get our funds up to make our budgets for the year,” Richardson said.

Though the three mayors were in friendly competition against each other to see which area could raise the most money, Nielsen said she was happy to do anything she could to help get the word out about the kettle competition.

“It’s a great cause,” she said. “I just wanted to try to help the Salvation Army have a successful event and help it get the word out that it is starting.”

Hayek, who is the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign chairman this year, also believes supporting the Salvation Army is an important thing to do.

“My goal was to support the program and raise awareness about the importance of charity during the holiday season,” Hayek said. “It’s a good cause and an effective way to raise awareness and encourage media coverage. I’d do it again next year.”

Scheels, a store at the Coral Ridge Mall, recognized the importance of charity during the holiday season by donating $5,000 to the cause in order to support the Salvation Army and what it stands for.

Nielsen said to her, the work the Salvation Army does is a bit different from many organizations.

Hayek said he appreciates how the Salvation Army focuses on adversities faced by the less fortunate.

“The Salvation Army is one of many organizations doing important work in our community,” Hayek said. “Each plays a role in addressing the challenges faced by the less fortunate among us.”

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