The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble playing for the Tree of Lights ceremony, 2009.

The Salvation Army will kickoff its annual Tree of   Lights Campaign this Thursday (Nov 18).  The ceremony will begin at 11:15 a.m. at The Salvation Army’s Headquarters located at 3100 N. Meridian St.  This year’s Tree Sponsor for the Tree of Lights Campaign will once again be Walmart and for the 6th straight year, WISH-TV 8’s Eric Halvorson will return as honorary Tree of Lights Chairman. Also participating in the kick-off event are Mayor Greg Ballard, the Indianapolis Colts’ Tom Zupancic, Terri Stacy and Joe Staysniak of the WIBC Morning News, the St. Richard’s 4th Grade Choir, The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble, along with corporate sponsors and other supporters of The Salvation Army.
The goal for this year’s campaign is $2.93 million. The money raised will go towards supporting Salvation Army programs and services throughout Central Indiana.  The Tree of Lights Campaign includes the Red Kettle campaign and soon, the famous symbol of Christmas will be appearing at over 140 locations throughout central Indiana.  In addition to the traditional Red Kettles, The Salvation Army will be trying a new Text donation option and a new campaign using Facebook and Twitter.  To find more you can go to SalvationArmyIndiana.org.

The Salvation Army fell short of their 2009 Tree of Lights goal by almost $200,000 and finished their fiscal year almost $300,00 behind in fundraising, but served more Hoosiers than the previous year.  “Last year we managed to serve 4,000 more people despite falling short of our funding goal by nearly $300,000. This year, we will have to look at reductions in programming and operating expenses should we fall short again,” said Jeff Stanger, Development Director for The Salvation Army.

Last year – through the generosity of central Indiana donors – The Salvation Army served more than 1,400 people struggling with substance abuse, provided more than 79,000 safe nights of shelter for women and children fleeing domestic abuse and homelessness, served more than 202,000 meals to men, women, and children in need, and provided a safe environment for hundreds of area children to go after school.

For a Salvation Army Tree of Lights Press Kit, please contact Mike Rowland at 317.224.1037 or media@salvationarmyindiana.org.

For more information about the Tree of Lights campaign or to volunteer this Holiday Season, please visit us online at www.salvationarmyindiana.org.