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Young social media influencers bring new hope and excitement to Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign in Osceola County

County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry led a press conference introducing young social media influencers promoting the Salvation Army in Osceola County. Image: Salvation Army via Facebook
County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry led a press conference introducing young social media influencers promoting the Salvation Army in Osceola County. Image: Salvation Army via Facebook

A team of social media-savvy young people is bringing new hope and excitement to the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign in Osceola County.

The TikTok and Instagram influencers aim to raise $200,000 dollars for people who need help.

Capt. Ken Chapman leads the Salvation Army in Osceola and Orange counties. He says you'll see red kettles and bell ringers at some stores but most of their crucial holiday fundraising has moved online. And they’ve struggled to reach the next generation of donors.

Chapman hopes these young influencers will bridge the gap.

"These young people have a great heart for social justice," he said. "And now we're going to get their attention. So, I'm telling you, whatever's happening here in Osceola, before the end of the season and even next year, the Salvation Army nationally will be doing this. It is a ground-breaking new opportunity."

County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry's 15-year-old daughter, Athena, is coordinating the effort by 22 influencers, ranging in age from 7 to young adult.

"What we're trying to accomplish with the influencers is creating a positive environment and trying to show them to use their platforms for something that matters and something that will benefit our community," she said, "and especially helping them understand the less fortunate and raising funds for those who need it."

Their campaign begins today and runs through mid-December..

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.