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      Salvation Army kicks off its Red Kettle Campaign

      The Salvation Army kicked off its annual kettle campaign at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Friday.

      The familiar red kettles will be placed at 30 locations throughout Syracuse. Major Dave Champlin says the need for volunteers this year is greater than ever. "We need a lot of support. We are looking for groups or individuals to be bell ringers, conduct food drives or help with donations," he says.

      The Salvation Army expects to serve more than 4,000 low income families at this years Christmas Bureau Distribution Day on December 22nd.

      The event provides a book, toy and stocking stuffer to each child and a holiday food basket for each family. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the number of low income families who depend on the Salvation Army to help them during the holidays has increased 75% in the past four years. "There are families with children who aren't going to have a holiday dinner or a toy or a book for their child without the help of this kettle campaign. It is as simple as that. It is thousands of kids and they live right here in Syracuse and Onondaga County," she says.

      For more information on volunteering or donating to the Salvation Army, call 477-3668.