Salvation Army set to kick off kettle campaign

Salvation Army of Shelby and Chilton counties captains Julia McDowell and her husband Rufus are gearing up for the organization’s annual kettle campaign. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Salvation Army of Shelby and Chilton counties captains Julia McDowell and her husband Rufus are gearing up for the organization’s annual kettle campaign. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – For Salvation Army captains Julia and Rufus McDowell, like other Salvation Army personnel, the period from early November until Christmas Eve comes with great importance.

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 11, the Salvation Army of Shelby and Chilton counties will be manning 37 kettle locations throughout the two counties, giving area residents a chance to support a slew of programs aimed at helping locals in need.

“83 cents of every dollar donated goes to support our programs and services,” Rufus McDowell said. “The kettle campaign is vital for funding the things we do all year.

“And we really need volunteer workers, because the Salvation Army primarily operates on volunteers,” he added.

Julia and Rufus McDowell, who are veterans of the Air Force and Army, respectively, said the Salvation Army of Shelby and Chilton counties is working this year to make donors more aware of how their funds are used once they go into the red kettles set up at high-traffic areas throughout the community.

From its location off Plaza Circle in Alabaster, the Salvation Army offers programs such as Club 316, which provides activities for local youth, a community care ministry reaching out to several local nursing homes, church and Sunday school offerings a food pantry, emergency utility cost assistance and more, Rufus McDowell said.

The organization is also always ready to respond to disasters and other large emergencies.

“We are disaster relief coordinators. After a disaster, we assess the needs and seek to meet those needs,” Rufus McDowell said. “The whole purpose of disaster relief is to help people survive.”

Each week, between 20 and 35 people attend the church services offered at the Alabaster location’s chapel, Rufus McDowell said. On Sundays, the chapel offers Sunday school at 10 a.m., worship at 11 a.m., weekday Sunday school at 4 p.m. on Thursdays, a women’s ministry on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and a men’s class on Fridays.

“We are a community church, and a lot of people don’t realize that,” Rufus McDowell said.

Those interested in volunteering for the kettle campaign or helping out with Salvation Army programs should call 624-4155.