On Nov. 14, the Salvation Army held their annual Red Kettle Ceremony in front of the Center for Campus Ministry at Maryville College. Salvation Army Sergeant Jared Martin and Maryville College president Dr. Tom Bogart both spoke about the importance of community service and the religious heritage of their respective organizations. Red kettles are the famous red pots placed in front of places of business where people can donate money to the organization. Sergeant Martin spoke about the history of these pots and their importance in the community of Blount County.
“It has become the Salvation Army’s most important event throughout the years,” Martin said. “Last year, in Blount County alone, we raise over $92,000, and it just means everything to us.” The funds raised by this event go to support various programs supported by the Salvation Army.
“It’s the one thing it’s able to be more effective in serving all the people we do all year,” Martin said. “This is our kickoff locally because we want to really make an impact in Maryville. This is where we spend all our time.” The Salvation Army not only provides and runs the Angel Tree program, but also offers to Blount County a variety of social services aimed at helping the unemployed find and maintain jobs.
Martin also spoke about Patrick Finney, a former Maryville College student who now works with the Salvation Army. Through the example of Finney, Martin connected the how the students, faculty and staff on campus can affect their communities, specifically the Blount County community. On campus, Finney works with the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and hosts many bible studies for students. The national campaign is set to officially begin next week on Thanksgiving during the Dallas Cowboys football game.
During the half time show, the official national Red Kettle Ceremony will take place. Bogart was given the honor of giving the first donation in Blount County to the Red Kettle Campaign and gave a short speech explaining the importance of the campaign and community service to the Maryville College community.
“One of the things that is so exciting about today is that it is a microcosm of how so much happens in this community,” Bogart said. “I see faculty, I see staff, I see students, I see the mayor [of Maryville], and so many others together for a common cause, and Maryville College as a nonprofit, as a church related place, benefits from the support of this community all the time, and we aspire in our mission to dedicate lives of creativity and service to the peoples of the world.” Bogart continued by explaining the importance of small acts of charity and what they equate to in the larger picture of the community.
“And that takes many forms,” Bogart said. “Including ringing a bell or even playing a saxophone next to a red kettle six weeks ever year because, it’s not just what that one ringing the bell or that one red kettle, but really that symbolizes a way of life during not only that time but throughout the whole year. There are needs throughout the year throughout the whole community that are visible and invisible, and all of us working together can help to address them.”