HORSEHEADS, N.Y. - The Sayre Salvation Army and its directors and volunteers officially kicked off the 2012 holiday season with a "Kettle Kickoff" held Friday at the Arnot Mall. The "Kettle Kickoff" is one of The Salvation Army's most important events of the year, as it officially begins the "bell ringing" donation season. New this year is a special "Online Red Kettle" at where donors can donate from the comfort of their homes.

The online Kettle contributions will assist The Salvation Army in the Valley community in providing meaningful assistance to families, kids and shut-ins at Christmas time and throughout the year. The Red Kettle is a tradition that has lasted 126 years, and the new Red Kettle online opportunity will allow secure donations and handle all thank you and gift acknowledgements electronically by sending notifications to each donor. The goal of the Sayre Corps is to reach $5,000 in online donations.

Captain Deborah Stedman noted that throughout the Valley each and every season, shoppers respond positively to volunteer bell ringing and generously give cash donations for the needy.

"Every donation, from one penny and up, helps our cause of providing food and clothes for the needy and lots of toys for the youngsters," said Stedman.

As in the past, several area Salvation Army corps gathered at the Arnot Mall to celebrate the opening of the holiday charity giving season. The Salvation Army Band again gave a one-hour performance at the beautifully decorated center of the mall, where Christmas songs, Santa and a festive spirit of giving prevails.

Captain Stedman notes that the core values of The Salvation Army, specifically charity, love of God and helping the needy, meet perfectly with her vocational objectives. She also reminds all that church services are held every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and that everyone is invited to attend.

Founded in 1865, the Salvation Army is a Christian-based love of God organization coupled with addressing the needs of the community. The Salvation Army's ministry emphasizes preaching the Gospel, disseminating Christian truths, supplying basic human necessities, providing personal counseling and undertaking spiritual and moral regeneration and physical rehabilitation of all the needy regardless of race, color, creed, sex or age.

For information on personal/family support, to volunteer for Red Kettle bell ringing or for spiritual needs, please phone (570) 888-2153. The corps church and offices are located at 314 S. Elmer Ave., Sayre, PA 18840.