WAUSAU – The equivalent of more than 7,140 nights of shelter for homeless people in Marathon County were provided through money put into the iconic Salvation Army red kettles last Christmas season. The donations totaled almost $90,000.

This year, the organization’s goal is to raise $150,000 through its Red Kettle campaign, set to kick-off Nov. 12 on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau with a free concert by musician Brad Emanuel.

The sound of the ringing bells outside retail locations to most are viewed as a nostalgic part of Christmas, but to The Salvation Army, the red kettles are significant for raising money to provide food, shelter, self-reliance education, the Pathway of Hope program, and men’s, women’s, and children’s group activities throughout the year. The overall Christmas fundraising goal is $695,000, which funds almost 40 percent of the nonprofit’s budget. Money raised at the red kettles contribute to the overall Christmas fundraising goal.

About 85 percent of the money raised by The Salvation Army remain in the community to provide services in Marathon County.

“The economic challenges haven’t ended for some members of our community; they’re still struggling to make ends meet. We need people ringing those bells to remind the public that the need is still there,” said Major Paul Logan, Wausau Corps Officer, in a news release.

Emanuel will perform from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free hot chocolate, hot dogs and brats will be served from The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services canteen truck. Attendees are encouraged to take chairs to enjoy the concert.