Kettle drive kickoff

Greenwood Salvation Army officers, from left, Capts. Keisha and Jason McMullin talk about the need for giving during Thursday’s Red Kettle campaign kickoff held in front of Greenwood Market Place.

This holiday season and throughout next year, The Greenwood Salvation Army is seeking to continue helping those in need. To do so it’ll need support from the community.

On Thursday morning, in front of Greenwood Market Place, Capts. Jason and Keisha McMullin kicked off the annual Red Kettle campaign and told the small crowd of people about the importance of donating.

“The need has always been there. This year it just happens to be greater,” Keisha McMullin said, alluding to the hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kettle drive kickoff

Natasha Johnson rings a bell by one of The Greenwood Salvation Army’s red kettles placed in front of Greenwood Market Place.

Since the pandemic hit Leflore County in March, the McMullins have said that they’ve seen an increase in calls from the community, requesting help for utility bills or getting a motel room for a night or two.

The McMullins explained the origins of the kettle campaign, which started in San Francisco in 1891, as well as the Angel Tree program, which originated in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1979.

Today, the kettle campaign assists more than 4.5 million Americans during Thanksgiving and Christmas and has spread to countries around the world,  Jason McMullin said.

This year, The Greenwood Salvation Army will have red kettles set out at the following locations to solicit donations: Market Place, Big Lots, Big Star, JC Penney, Walmart and Walgreens, all in Greenwood, as well as the Walmart in Grenada.

What’s new for The Greenwood Salvation Army’s kettle campaign this year is the ability to donate online and through a smartphone. The latter option was added so people who don’t carry cash don’t have an excuse not to donate, Jason McMullin joked.

On each red kettle will be a sticker. Donors may open their smartphones’ cameras to scan the image on the sticker, which will open a link where people can select various donation options.

People can also donate online at

Kettle drive kickoff

Shayan Hicks, a corps assistant with The Greenwood Salvation Army, talks about how The Salvation Army molded her into the person she is today.

Shayan Hicks, a corps assistant with The Greenwood Salvation Army who’s originally from Mobile, Alabama, said the organization provided her various opportunities growing up, including a scholarship to college as well as the ability to visit places such as California.

In short, The Salvation Army molded her into the person she is today, Hicks said.

Last year, The Greenwood Salvation Army raised $67,0000 through its kettle campaign, allowing it to assist 3,142 people throughout the year with 21,302 meals and 11,409 nights of shelter. This year’s goal is to raise $80,000.

“I think we can reach that $80,000 goal,” the Rev. Dr. Scott Wright, pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church, said before a prayer. “The bad news is that this money is still in your pockets,” he added with a laugh.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or

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