BLACKFOOT — Thanks to generous donations and willing volunteers, the Blackfoot Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign raised more than $5,000 and exceeded expectations this year.
The campaign, which runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, raised $800 more than last year and is nearly double the amount raised in 2009.
The Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency's Bingham County office is the local Salvation Army service extension. SEICAA coordinates volunteers for the kettles and collects and distributes the funds to the local community.
Volunteers to ring the bell were scarce during the start of the campaign, but several groups including students from Snake River High School, local churches, Boy Scouts and those needing community service showed up to help.
"The community really responded," Bingham County SEICAA Program Coordinator Bobette Beesley said.
In addition to volunteers, those donating were extra generous—one anonymous donor put five $100 bills into the kettle.
"That was a huge surprise," Beesley said. "The most we have ever gotten was a $50 bill a couple of times."
The funds raised benefit various programs providing assistance to those in need. Funds are used to purchase school supplies for children, turkeys during the holidays and to provide resources to those in emergency situations.
"There's so many different places this money can help people with," Beesley said.