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DALLAS (KRLD)Soon we’ll hear Salvation Army bells and see their red kettles dotting area street corners. Holiday giving is back in North Texas and kicked off at the original Neiman Marcus location on Main Street in downtown Dallas.

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After starting with a round of Jingle Bells, Mayor Mike Rawlings joined other city leaders, Neiman’s employees, and volunteers who lined up first to drop money in the kettle.

“I brag about Dallas’s big heart,” Rawlings said proudly. “Philanthropy is a big thing and the Salvation Army represents this moment of giving during Christmastime.”

The money dropped in the red kettles over the holiday season will go toward a number of Salvation Army programs, including initiatives to help those struggling with addiction, funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs, and programs to help veterans get back on their feet.

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Mayor Rawlings said the Red Kettle Campaign kickoff came at the perfect time. “It’s very special that this event fell on Veterans Day this year.”

Major Barbara Rich is the Associate Area Commander at The Salvation Army DFW. Rich said people helped by the Salvation Army are often struck speechless by the care they receive. “It’s amazing what number of people grow up without hope. I’ve seen people tear up when that hope is restored to them and they realize their life is worth something.”

Thousands of people who pass happily give what they can. But Rich has some words for those who may roll their eyes at the sound of the ringing bell. “I hope you never need our services,” she says. “We help people in emergency situations, and that knows no socioeconomic level. But even if you don’t see the value in supporting the Salvation Army, we’re there with love and respect should you need us.”

Last year more than $2 million was collected in the Dallas-area red kettles. The Salvation Army doesn’t have a set goal this year, but officials are hoping to at least match that number.

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