(credit: KRLD NewsRadio1080/Chuck Schechner)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Shoppers at Fort Worth’s Ridgmar Mall were surprised Monday morning to see a cattle drive making it’s way around the mall.

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The event was to kick off the annual Salvation Army kettle drive.

“Where else would you have a cattle drive, other than in Cow Town?” asked Salvation Army Captain Michelle Matthews.

Matthews led the cattle herd and was joined by cowboys on horseback.

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The familiar red kettles are already out at a number of North Texas locations.

Just about everyone is familiar with the bell ringers that appear this time of year, but salvation Army workers in Tarrant County say the current economic situation has more people looking for help.

“With the economy like it is now, we have seen, over the past couple of years, a 65-percent increase in requests for assistance,” said Matthews.

The kettle drive is one of the major fundraisers for the Salvation Army. Last year the organization raised just more than $1 million in Tarrant County alone.

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The national Salvation Army kettle drive kicks off on Thanksgiving Day during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys/Miami Dolphins football game.