Rochester, MN  (KROC AM News) -  It’s that time of the year - bells will soon be ringing in the Rochester area.

A brief campaign kick-off event is scheduled Thursday at Rochester’s Hy-Vee Barlow Plaza to mark the beginning of this year’s Red Kettle season.

The event will begin at 5:45 p.m. with music provided by The Salvation Army Band. At 6:00 p.m. Major James Frye will announce this year’s Red Kettle and Christmas Campaign goals. The Seeds of Wisdom Choir will also perform some holiday favorites.

The Salvation Army’s 2016 Kettle Drive will  begin in earnest next Friday and run through Christmas Eve. Volunteers are being sought to help man the kettles during the drive. Check the Salvation Army website for more information. Officials say just two hours of volunteering at a kettle raises an average of $60. That’s enough for the Salvation Army to buy three days worth of groceries for a family of four, or provide two days worth of food and shelter for a person experiencing homelessness.

Donations to the overall Christmas Campaign last year totaled nearly $1.08 million. The Red Kettle portion of the campaign raised  more than $400,000. Volunteers helped meet the goal by donating nearly 6300 hours  of their time to ring bells and man the various kettles.

For 24/7 news and sports check KROC AM and follow KROC-AM on Facebook.