The Salvation Army turned the switch on the Tree of Lights on November 8, marking the beginning of its holiday campaign. Salvation Army officials and campaign leaders were present for the ceremony at the Tree of Lights located on the northeast corner of 90th & Dodge Street. Honorary Chairman Paul Hogan announced the fund-raising goal. Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley from the cast of Omaha Community Playhouse’s “A Christmas Carol” flipped the switch to illuminate the 75’ tree and a special Omaha Salvation Army 125th Anniversary display. An estimated 500 people attended the ceremony.
This year, the Tree of Lights goal is $3,000,000. Proceeds are used to support more than 20 social service programs. Every dollar donated to the campaign stays in the community. More than $3 million was raised last year.
Alex Hoffman and John Oakey, Anchors KETV NewsWatch 7 First News, served as emcees. Santa and and his reindeer made a special appearance along with mascots from the Omaha Stormchasers, Kraft and The Salvation Army Kroc Center. Latin Rock Band Marcos & Sabor and The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble performed holiday music.
Hundreds of bell ringers are now accepting donations at more than 230 kettle sites in the metropolitan area through December 24. Volunteers are needed. Call 402-898-6000 or register online at ringomaha.org.
The money collected during the six week campaign supports The Salvation Army programs and services throughout the year which include food pantries, housing, utility assistance, behavioral health services, education and recreation and opportunities for youth and seniors and disaster services. All money raised through the Red Kettle Drive stays in the community to support the Army’s year round programs.
The Salvation Army extends a special thanks to American National Bank for providing a home for the Tree of Lights. The Army also thanks sponsors who made the Tree of Lights possible: Iron Workers Local 21-Omaha, Brite Ideas Decorating, Duke Aerial Equipment, Moen Steel Erection Inc., Patriot Crane & Rigging, Kiewit Building Group, Andersen Electric Company, Cargo Zone LLC, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Batten Trailer Leasing and the Omaha Police Department.