FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Salvation Army officially kicked off its annual Red Kettle campaign Wednesday at Sweetwater Sound.

The annual holiday fundraiser aims to raise money for The Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance programs and help the organization throughout the whole year.

Lt. Scott Smith, a corps officer with The Salvation Army, said the Red Kettle campaign is The Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser and raises over 70% of the organization’s yearly budget.

“It is absolutely crucial for families,” Smith said. “It provides a sense of stability [and] it provides a sense of dignity for families to be able to provide something that they may not be able to fit into their budget normally.”

Smith said the campaign is especially important this year with the rising costs of bills and groceries.

“It is our privilege to be able to step up and help one another,” Smith said.

The Red Kettles and their accompanying bell ringers can be found outside businesses across Fort Wayne. To learn more about The Salvation Army’s Indiana operations, and to volunteer, click here.