Springfield Salvation Army’s Kettle Wars to start

The Springfield Salvation Army’s fourth annual Kettle Wars online competition will begin next week.

Kettle Wars, which will run Nov. 18 through Dec. 22, is a “friendly online fundraiser” that engages kids, schools, businesses and individuals of Clark County and encourages them to design their own kettles and challenge others to see who can raise the most money.

“The need is great in Clark County. So, these funds help us reach more families and individuals in relevant ways. Kettle Wars just provides a fun way for us to do that,” said Ryan Ray, the development director of the Springfield Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army’s goal is to reach $50,000 this year and to get more kids and schools involved.

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“This unique fundraiser teaches our community’s youth that we all have a part to play here and that you don’t have to be an adult to help take care of those who are falling through the cracks,” Ray said.

The fundraiser started in 2019 and was originally designed for in-person competition at Holiday in the City, but when COVID-19 hit, Ray said they had to get creative and moved it to online in 2020.

Last year, the competition raised $40,000. In 2020 during COVID-19, it raised $153,000, and in 2019, it raised more than $3,000.

“Our first year (online) was right at the height of the pandemic, but it was our best year,” Ray said. “It’s just further proof that this county is so charitable and so compassionate. The need was so incredibly great then, so those funds didn’t last long, but wow was that amazing to witness.”

There are several “arenas” to battle in for the competition, including school, kid, individual and business.

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For one month each, the traveling Kettle Wars trophy and billboard will be awarded to the school that raises the most, and a cash prize, trophy and billboard will also be awarded to the child that raises the most.

Last year, the Global Impact STEM Academy’s FFA was the winning school with a total of $2,036 raised. In the kids category, Kyler and Karlee Chapman won with $1,250 raised.

The funds from the Kettle Wars will be used to meet the needs in Clark County over the winter months, Ray said.

People can go to give.salvationarmy.org/springfieldkettlewars to create their own virtual red kettle and begin fundraising. If they want to donate to a particular kettle, people can type the kettle name in the search bar or scroll through the various kettles to find it. People with a kettle can also track how it’s doing compared to others.

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