It was a record year for the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign.
The organization raised an area command record of just over $650,000, up 11% over donations in 2011. The total includes Knoxville, Maryville, Oak Ridge and Sevierville.
The campaign, which kicked off on November 12 and ran through Christmas Eve, is The Salvation Army's largest fundraising event and accounts for about 15% of its total operating budget for the year.
"We're again overwhelmed with the generosity of our friends and neighbors here in the Knoxville area," said Area Commander, Major Albert Villafuerte . "We were ahead of the pace needed to exceed our goal for most of the campaign again this year and were able to take advantage of the drier weather to maximize our kettle locations throughout the command."
The contributions helped to fund The Salvation Army's Christmas programs, which helped over 3,000 families in need in 2012. They will also help keep area programs and services, which affect nearly 30,000 people in East Tennessee, going throughout 2013.
Even though the Red Kettle Campaign has come to a close, the need is still great. Donations can be made anytime by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.