Christmas is coming early for the Twin Cities Salvation Army. This month, six Minneapolis-St. Paul-area MAACO Collision Repair & Auto Painting centers are coating 1,200 faded Salvation Army kettles in fresh red paint in anticipation of the charity’s busy, bell-ringing holiday collection season.
Each of the centers has agreed to handle 200 kettles a piece, an overall effort worth about $12,000 in materials and labor, the Twin Cities Salvation Army says.
“These kettles have taken a beating over the years from frigid weather and general wear and tear,” said Major Darryl Leedom, commander of the Twin Cities Salvation Army. “MAACO’s donation will add years to the life of the kettles. It will also save us a bundle of money that we will use to serve people in need this holiday season.”
The painting began Oct. 1 and will continue through the end of the month at MAACO centers in Minneapolis, Fridley, Little Canada, West St. Paul, St. Louis Park and Burnsville, Minn. The Salvation Army dropped off kettles at each location on Oct. 13 and Oct. 19.
MAACO joined the effort when the Salvation Army approached Ron Wuchko, owner of the MAACO on East Lake St. and 20th Ave. in Minneapolis, who agreed to help because the charity once supported a member of his family battling addiction. After Wuchko agreed, his store manager, Marwan Kawas, began recruiting other MAACO centers.
“The Salvation Army does a lot of good work,” Wuchko said. “They’re part of the community and so are we. We’re happy to help.”
The kettles will be finished in time for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff on Nov. 12, when they’ll be distributed to more than 400 sites across the Twin Cities metro area.
The Twin Cities Salvation Army has an annual budget of about $24 million, nearly $3 million of which is raised in red kettles during the six weeks before Christmas.
See photos of the kettle painting process