Tree of Lights campaign underway

Omaha, NE – The Salvation Army's Tree of Lights Campaign officially kicked off Friday evening.

The campaign's familiar red kettles began appearing last week in the Omaha metro area. Salvation Army of Omaha spokeswoman Susan Eustice says the need for assistance from the organization's programs is up ten to 35 percent this year.

Donations made during the red kettle campaign fund 25 programs and services. One of those is the food pantry. Eustice says requests for food assistance from the pantry are up 35 percent in the past three months.

New this year is donation by text message. Eustice says anyone can make a ten-dollar donation to the Tree of Lights campaign by texting GOOD to 27722. There's also an online red kettle campaign.

Eustice says donations to the red kettles make up two-thirds of the total Tree of Lights campaign goal. Last year, more than $2.9 million was donated.

This year's goal is $3.1 million dollars.