Moorhead, city officials kick off Salvation Army Red Kettle drive

Mississippi State football coach Joe Moorhead talks to those in attendance for the kickoff of the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive Friday (Photos by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

The ringing of cowbells will be in the air at local grocery stores, but it won’t be solely because the Bulldogs are winning.

After a late night Egg Bowl victory in Oxford on Thanksgiving night, Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead was back out in the community Friday morning with the famous egg-shaped trophy to help kick off the Salvation Army’s 2018 Red Kettle drive at Vowell’s Marketplace on Highway 12.

Moorhead and his wife Jennifer Moorhead were both in attendance, along with Mayor Lynn Spruill and Starkville Police Chief Frank Nichols.

“I think being the head coach of Mississippi State, it’s your duty and responsibility to help with causes like this, whose goal it is to give back to the less fortunate and come out here and be part of the start of the drive,” Joe Moorhead said. “It means a lot to me and my family because we are part of this community, our kids go to the high school, our youngest one goes to the middle school. They play sports here and go to church here and we are part of Starkville.”

LaShaunda Bobbett, Red Kettle coordinator for Salvation Army Starkville, said on Friday that the money raised through the campaign will be put toward buying gifts for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and for helping those in need of help paying electric and other utility bills in the community.

The aid provided by the Salvation Army with money raised through the campaign isn’t reserved just for the holidays, either.

“Our goal is $56,000 this year and it helps us help the community throughout the year and we really do think the community for donating their time and their money so we can be able to do what we do with these guys out here,” Bobbett said.

Bobbett said there will be one Red Kettle set up at Vowell’s, two at Walmart and at least one at Kroger, with the possibility of a second still under consideration.

As of Friday, Bobbett said there were 51 families on the Angel Tree that need to be “adopted.”

All of the families on the Angel Tree have children ages 12 and under.

“If people do not want to adopt, we do accept fillers, or gifts that we can put in the other families gifts that don’t get adopted,” she said.

Nichols, who smiled as he rang the bell in his uniform and hat, said the police department values being able to give back to the community it serves.

“The police department itself usually rings at least three complete days,” Nichols said. “We usually do the Friday after Thanksgiving, then the next two Fridays we do the whole day. We usually do Walmart but we’ve been doing this since 2006 and it’s just our way of giving back.”

Spruill echoed the sentiment, stressing the importance of city support for initiatives like the Red Kettle drive.

“We’ve been doing this off and on for several years, but last year we took a day and covered the whole day with city staff and I’m really proud of them and as part of the community,” the mayor said. “I think it’s important for us to participate in that kind of way, so it’s really fun to do a kickoff for it but the city is doing it again and our community is a give-back community. We care and we show it by this effort.”

Keelon Fisher, a Starkville native and 2016 graduate of Starkville High, was the first volunteer to ring the bell at Vowell’s

Despite the frigid temperatures, Fisher was more than happy to take up the cause.

“I just feel like it’s a great to be a part of your community and give back any way you can,” he said.