Salvation Army to kick off Red Kettle season Friday at Rice Park tree lighting, digital payments being tested this year

The Twin Cities Salvation Army is kicking off its Red Kettle season on Friday, and some changes will be in place at a few bell-ringing locations.

Thousands of additional bell ringers are still needed, according to organizers, who say this year’s goal in the Twin Cities is $2 million.

The Salvation Army says it will be testing new digital payment technology at several dozen locations in the Twin Cities. Tap to Give devices will allow kettle donors to make a donation with a tap of their chipped credit card, or their phone if using Apple or Google Pay.

CLICK HERE if you’d like to sign up for a bell-ringing shift. So far, the Salvation Army says 11,000 hours still need to be filled, while another 3,300 hours have already been scheduled.

The kickoff coincides with the annual Tree of Lights lighting ceremony in St. Paul’s Rice Park.

Roughly 25,000 lights will decorate the 40-foot tree, as well as ribbons and ornaments.

Mayor Melvin Carter and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter will speak at the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and is being emceed by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS meteorologist Chris Reece.