Kicking off a season of generosity


PIQUA — Community members gathered at the Miami Valley Centre Mall on Thursday to help kick off the Salvation Army’s 2021 Red Kettle Campaign.

“It should be a joyous time because it’s a perfect opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life,” Piqua Salvation Army Major Herb Carter said.

Herb and his wife, Angie Carter, were appointed to work with the Piqua Salvation Army earlier this summer and are in charge of the 2021 Red Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree program, respectively. Herb spoke about their history with Salvation Army — while Angie is the daughter of two retired Salvation Army officers, Herb first got involved with the Salvation Army after benefiting from programs in his home of Syracuse, New York while growing up. He attended summer camps through the Salvation Army and was a beneficiary of the Angel Tree program.

“I was one of the little children that the Salvation Army ministers to. My parents were struggling to make ends meet. I’m here to tell you that when you support the programs of the Salvation Army, you change lives. You make a difference in somebody’s life,” Herb said.

Caleb Starnes placed a ceremonial first donation in the kettle during the kick-off, while his younger brother, Carter Starnes, rang the bell. Caleb and Carter are the sons of Lindsey and Mason Starnes, of Troy.

The Red Kettle fundraiser, which first started with a soup kettle in San Francisco in 1891, provides the majority of funding for various programs the organization offers to those in need in the Piqua community. Programs include a pantry that provides items that can’t be obtained with SNAP cards, a mobile feeding program, utility assistance, a summer camp program for youth, tending to needs in senior and nursing homes, and assisting with disaster relief. Last year, the Piqua Salvation Army collected $64,000 from those who donated spare change to the kettles.

Thursday’s event also kicked off the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree program, which provides new clothing and toys for children of families in need through the support of donors. Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tages with the first name, age, and gender of a child in need of presents. Contributors can remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags. Among area businesses participating in the Angel Tree program, an Angel Tree will be present at the Miami Valley Centre Mall, along with the Red Kettle.

“Somebody’s generosity to the Salvation Army changed my life, and I’m here to celebrate that generosity, and I’m here to celebrate your generosity and your willingness to support the Salvation Army,” Herb said.

Those interested in helping the Salvation Army during the holiday season can donate to the Red Kettle fundraiser at locations such as the Piqua Kroger, the Piqua and Troy Wal-Mart locations, Piqua Big Lots, and the Miami Valley Centre Mall, drop off donations in-person or mail them to the Piqua Salvation Army location at 129 S. Wayne St., or donate directly at All donations made electronically stay in the Piqua community and directly benefit the Piqua Salvation Army.

The Red Kettle Campaign ends Friday, Dec. 24.

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