Charitable organizations hope you will give generously this holiday season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Charitable organizations say the upcoming holiday season largely determines their operating budgets for the next year.

Volunteers are setting up a huge red kettle on the Country Club Plaza to remind shoppers of the importance of charitable giving. The display will be lit up during the plaza lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving night.

Beginning Friday at more than 250 locations across the metro area, kettles will be out to solicit donations for Salvation Army programs like food pantries for the poor, hot meal feeding programs for the homeless and emergency disaster aid.

"Sometimes I think the thought is we're just raising it for the Christmas season and while we do that, it helps throughout the year," said Maj. Greg Voeller, business director for The Salvation Army.

Last year the kettle campaign raised more than $1.4 million. This season's goal is $1.5 million. The Salvation Army will deliver meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas to more than 5,000 people. And 16,000 kids will receive toys on Christmas thanks to these donations.

There are many ways to help besides giving cash. The Salvation Army still needs volunteer bell ringers to staff the kettles. If you're interested in being part of the campaign, go to or call 816-968-0372.