KALISPELL - The iconic red kettles of the Salvation Army have helped raise money for families in need for more than 100 years.
It's one of the most familiar sounds of the holiday season -- volunteers with the Salvation Army ringing their famous bells.
"The bell ringing is one of our major fundraisers. The money that we raise in those little red buckets and the bell ringing makes a huge difference. It's a good 15-percent of our budget," said Major Bill Lum with the Kalispell Salvation Army.
The generosity in the Flathead Valley was up by 5% last year with more than $100,000 raised, and all of it stays in the community it was raised in -- something Lum says helps them serve those in need in the Flathead Valley all year long.
"The Salvation Army is around all year round believe it or not. One of the programs we operate is we serve a hot breakfast and hot lunch five days a week and that is open to anyone in the community," Lum said.
During the holidays, the Salvation Army also offers several programs to make sure every child feels special on Christmas. "Our focus is on the children and toys. We have our Angel Tree program at the mall where we ask the shoppers to take a tag, buy a gift and bring it back, Lum said.
Applications are being accepted at the Salvation Army Community Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.