Iconic Salvation Army Red Kettles return to help Chicago area families : 'This is who we are'

The sights and sounds of the season are in full effect.

The Salvation Army launched its annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The organization raises 70 percent of the funds it needs all year during the holiday season. 

The Salvation Army is more than a resale shop or food pantry. 

FOX 32 learned this first hand through the story of a mother who found herself homeless and living at Midway Airport with her two small children.

Just two months ago, Kierra Brown, her 6-month-old son and 9-year-old daughter were sleeping on the floor of a bathroom at the airport.

"It was very emotional, I couldn't bathe … we was hungry," said Brown.

They were saved by the Salvation Army.

"We are the source for transportation to get people to safe shelters in Chicago and that really looks like a hundred calls a day if not more," said Major Caleb Senn, Salvation Army Chicago area commander.


The salvation army picked the family up at 3 a.m. shuttling them to a shelter, where they had access to warm beds, food, hygiene products and mental health counseling.

"It just felt like home, and I just felt so comfortable," said Brown.

"This is not the Salvation Army in this situation. This is who we are in every situation every day.  To meet people with open arms to meet them right where they're at," said Senn.

Every dollar you place in those red kettles this season will help families like Kierra's.  

They need volunteer bell ringers.

To sign up for a time slot, near your house, go to registertoring.com.

You can even bring your family and your dog!