BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Many people are familiar with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Fundraiser, but the purpose behind it isn’t always known.

Every cent that’s placed into the red buckets each year is a donation to the Salvation Army, specifically helping somebody in the area you reside.

“We’re all trying to raise $600,000. Of course, that money is for services at Christmastime, and then throughout the year. We’ve got a lot of things going on and lots of folks who are requesting help,” said Major Dan Leisher, officer for the Bloomington Salvation Army.

The Red Kettle Fundraiser started back in 1891 to cover the cost of a community meal.

“Donors need to know that what they do has a lifetime impact and when they’re giving, they’re providing the funds that are needed. It’s a long-term impact that changes our community and the landscape of it,” said Leisher.

Now in 2022, more than a century later, the campaign is still changing lives.

Michael Steele lost his job and residence during the pandemic, and the Salvation Army helped him through the difficult time.

“Since the time I’ve spent here, I’ve seen not only myself but other men and women prosper from just being around the people. I mean, I can’t put into words how these people have impacted my life. And really, it’s just been phenomenal,” said Steele. “I have stabilized. I’ve got a really great job, a job that I love, working for one of the biggest manufacturers in this area. And I’m really proud of that.”

Major Dan Leisher reminds others that anybody can face a difficult time.

“It’s our neighbors, it’s our friends, our folks who are facing illnesses, difficulties, challenges at the workplace, housing problems,” said Leisher. “There are all kinds of struggles.”

To donate to the Red Kettle campaign or the Salvation Army, click here.