"You'll hear the bells:" Salvation Army's red kettles are back for another season of giving

MILWAUKEE -- Christmas must be around the corner, because as of Friday morning a familiar sound was back in the air. The ringing of bells means the Salvation Army's red kettles are back for another season of giving.

Salvation Army red kettles

“We begin on the streets, in front of the stores," says Major Steven Merritt, Divisional Commander for the Salvation Army in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. "You’ll hear the bells until Christmas Eve.”

That sound is synonymous with the Red Kettle Campaign, the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year.

“The money that’s collected helps individuals right now, immediately during this season," Merritt says. "But also supports our budget for the coming year.”

Accompanying the familiar sound was a familiar face at Friday’s kickoff breakfast. FOX6 Sports Director Tom Pipines helped set the course for this year’s drive.

Salvation Army red kettles

“This year’s lofty goal," Pipines stated. "Is $4 million.”

Salvation Army red kettles

That’s $4 million in just Milwaukee County alone. By Black Friday, there will be kettles at around 100 locations throughout the area -- and the need is very real.

“We have individuals that are sleeping in Salvation Army beds every night of the year, Merritt says. "We’re helping families, we’re giving away toys, we’re giving away food. All types of assistance.”

And all it takes to help out is a literal drop in a bucket.