Maybe you've heard the bells ringing or seen the bright red kettles while shopping. Both are a recognizable part of the Salvation Army's fundraising campaign this time of year. The kettles are getting even more recognition this year, this time from the lawns of two friends who have enough lights to ensure you can't miss them. Our Iris St. Meran takes us to the first residential red kettle locations.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Every year, these two friends put up their light displays at their homes. For Steve Scicchitano of Clay and Chris Hussak of Liverpool, it has become a healthy competition.
Scicchitano said, "We do push each other, which is great. We collaborate quite a bit. It's helped both of our displays evolve quite a bit this year."
That competition turned into a community service this year, after they decided they wanted to do something more. For the first time ever, the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is residential. Both men have a kettle and barrel to collect money and stocking stuffers to help the organization.
"Fortunately, we have great neighbors, so they don't mind the increased traffic yet,” Hussak added. “It's been tremendous. And it's been a tremendous privilege for us to have the opportunity to give back."
Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services Coordinator Major George Polarek said, "Any kind of new, innovative thinking like that is always embraced here at the Army, so we're very, very pleased that they took this opportunity to help other people. They're really, when you think about it are making change happen."
Five-hundred dollars has been raised through these kettles and the displays have only been up a few weeks. Their inaugural goal is $2,000.
And they found something special in this process. Each year, the Salvation Army helps about 40,000 people and combined the two displays have about 40,000 lights. So lights represent someone that they are raising money to help.
"Another great tie for the partnership between Salvation Army and our light displays," said Scicchitano.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army's largest fundraiser. And these friends are helping it to grow even more by their light shine.
Both displays will be up until January 1st. If you'd like to see the displays for yourself, here are the addresses:
Hussak Family Light Show
4277 Carmel Drive
Liverpool, NY 13090
Scicchitano Family Light Show
5211 Harriet Fisher Drive
Clay, NY 13041
Hours for both light shows are Sunday through Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m.
You can also donate online by visiting www.onlineredkettle.org/cnylights.