Originally posted on MyStateman.
By Cory Morrow – Special to the American-Statesman
This holiday season, shoppers will hear strumming guitars and booming voices along with the familiar ringing bell as the Salvation Army kicks off its annual Red Kettle campaign.
After all, this is Austin — the Live Music Capital of the World. This year, those of us in the music industry decided to truly Rock The Red Kettle, and I’m asking you to help.
We kicked off the 2015 Red Kettle Campaign Sunday evening with a “Rock The Red Kettle” Concert presented by KOKE-FM. Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Drew Womack and Walt and Tina Wilkins joined me to play to a chilly but warm-hearted crowd that dropped $227,000 in the red kettle to start the 2015 campaign.
If you’ve been to one of my concerts, you know that I play a pretty high-energy show, and I usually do so barefooted. After a few songs on the outdoor stage at LifeAustin Amphitheatre, I was so cold I had to slip my shoes back on. The audience felt it too and stayed bundled up under coats and red blankets. From the stage, the performers could see warm breath condensing in the cold air from the huddled fans.
It seemed appropriate, to be honest, given that so many are alone, homeless and outdoors.
Nobody should be without a home at any time, especially this time of year, and especially women and children.
Salvation Army Austin Area Command development director Jamille Ruebsahm says more than 70 percent of people in Salvation Army Austin shelters are women and children, and approximately 400 women and children are on a waiting list for emergency shelter on any given day.
Literally thousands receive support each year through the Salvation Army, from food for the hungry, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to the homeless, case management to help people move from crisis to self-sufficiency, and aid relief for disaster victims. We know we’ve had more than our share of flooding and fires this year.
Eighty-three cents of every dollar the Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson counties.
I hope you’ll join my friends in giving, volunteering and showing how much the Live Music Capital of the World truly cares.
If you’re a musician, visit RockTheRedKettleATX.org to sign up and play at a red kettle. We’ll be playing all over town —at places like Lakeline and Barton Creek Square Malls and the Domain — in time slots of 30 minutes.
If you’re less musically inclined, volunteer as a bell ringer. Make a difference by giving just two hours on a Saturday. You can sign up with friends and family, and throw on your favorite ugly Christmas sweater.
Use social media to invite friends and family to join you in sharing their #RedKettleReason and check out what others across the U.S. have shared at RedKettleReason.org.
Finally, you can give.
This is the 125th year of the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. Last year, donors across the country gave almost $144 million, providing more than 30 million people with food, shelter and social services. Here in Austin, all those nickels, dimes and dollars you dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle last year totaled $306,000, which serve thousands of people in Travis and Williamson Counties.
It’s my hope we can raise $500,000 and help even more families this holiday season.
I hope you’ll join me in rocking the red kettle.
Morrow is a country music artist who resides in Austin with his wife and children.