A ringing bell and bright red kettle remind people entering or leaving participating businesses of The Salvation Army's annual fund drive.
This year's effort began the day after Thanksgiving and will continue until Dec. 24.
"We have bell ringers at 12 to 14 locations where we're allowed to solicit donations," said Salvation Army Maj. Brian West. Participating businesses include Longs Drugs, Kmart, Safeway and Times supermarket.
Loretta Sanchez stands outside the entrance of Longs Drugs in Wailuku and rings a white bell to draw the attention of passers-by to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.
The Maui News / RICH VAN SCOY photo
Stephen West (from left), Salvation Army Maj. Brian West and Kylie Leong, a program assistant at Salvation Army, pose with toys collected through the Toys for Tots program.
The Maui News / RICH VAN SCOY photo
This year's goal is $150,000, according to West. That's a lot of nickels, dimes and quarters and not far from last year's collection of $144,000.
"We are ahead of last year, but it's starting to slow down," said West on Wednesday. He asks the public to give when they see the red kettle and thanks them for their generosity.
"You can scan or text a $10 donation," said West. Each red kettle location includes a "kettle card" that may be scanned with a mobile device. There is also information posted for those who wish to text a $10 donation.
Of course, the whole point of the Red Kettle Campaign is for people to donate whatever loose change or cash they have on hand when entering or leaving a participating business. The texting and scanning options offer another, convenient alternative.
The bell ringer brigade is made up of volunteers, in addition to paid bell ringers to cover for volunteer shortages.
Volunteers include members of church groups, high school key clubs, as well as individuals.
"Money raised by the bell ringers goes to the day-to-day operations; to buy food, feeding, clothes, our food pantry . . . it goes right into the community," said West.
In addition to the Red Kettle Campaign, The Salvation Army is working to bring holiday gifts to underprivileged children and elderly through its Angel Tree effort, which is co-sponsored by Central Pacific Bank.
"Angel Tree is a big help, on all the islands," said West. There are currently 700 families being served by the program in Maui County.
Angel Trees can be found at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, Lahaina Cannery Mall, Walmart in Kahului and Walgreens in Lahaina, according to The Salvation Army's website.
"You can donate to one child or more," said West. Participants simply pick an Angel tag from the tree that corresponds to a child or senior with a special wish for Christmas.
"It may say 'Sally, number 7 - bike, skateboard,' " said West to describe the tags. "Then you go and buy the items."
Angel tags are also available at all Central Pacific Bank branches.
The Angel Tree program has been in existance for 45 years, according to West.
"It's a way to get people involved."
The Salvation Army will deliver the gift to the chosen "Angel" before Christmas.
In addition to its Angel Tree effort, The Salvation Army also participates in the annual "Toys for Tots" program, providing distribution of donated toys to various social agencies, which in turn distribute them to the children and families they serve.
"Thanks for continuing to be very generous, as you have in the past," said West of everyone who contributes to the Red Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree. "We appreciate all the generosity that comes our way.
"Come out and support us! Donate. Adopt an Angel. If you have any loose change or money, make a donation."
* Rich Van Scoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.