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The Salvation Army red kettle mascot is shown at an annual Christmas kickoff at Broadway Square Mall in Tyler. 

The Christmas season is almost here, and The Salvation Army is ready to start celebrating with a kickoff at 10 a.m. Friday.

The kickoff will be held in the breezeway between J.C. Penney and Chick-fil-A at Broadway Square Mall, 4601 S. Broadway Ave.

The Tyler Junior College Low Brass Ensemble and The Salvation Army’s mascot, Captain Kettle, will be performing.

The Christmas kickoff launches The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle and Angel Tree season, and 39 locations will be hosting the iconic red kettle as volunteers ring bells to raise money to reach a goal of $400,000.

This year, each kettle stand will have a QR Code and a NFC tag that will allow donors to use Apple Pay and Google Pay rather than dropping cash or coins in the kettle.

“This event is a great opportunity for us to generate some excitement as we get our Red Kettle Campaign started,” said Capt. Robert Parker, Tyler Corps. “The money raised during this campaign is so important to The Salvation Army and those monies stay here in Smith County and help us to run essential programs year-round. The need in our community is great, but I’m positive that the residents of Smith County will come together and make it happen!”

The event will also launch this year’s Angel Tree season. Last month, The Salvation Army registered over 2,000 children and seniors to receive gifts this holiday season.

“The Salvation Army Angel Tree program is so important to our community,” said Capt. Nicole Parker, Tyler Corps. “We are so grateful for community’s support to make Christmas joy a reality for these angels.”

For more information, call Cindy Bell at 903-592-4361. If you are interested in volunteering to ring the bell this season you may sign up at www.registertoring.com.

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