The ceremonies kicked off the Salvation Army's red kettle driver, when bell ringers man the red collection kettles outside businesses in Omaha and Council Bluffs.
Interested individuals can select a wish list from the Christmas tree set up in the Post Oak Mall food court in College Station. "I challenge any player to go play nine hours a day for the Salvation Army".
The Salvation Army's Kettle Appeal was first launched in Barbados over 100 years ago. Bell-ringers will be stationed outside local businesses through December 24 as part of the organization's main fundraising event of the year.
Money raised during the campaign stays local in each community and is used by the Salvation Army to provide assistance throughout the year to those who face poverty, sickness, unemployment, and rising expenses.
The familiar red kettle and cheery bell has been a long time staple around the holidays, with bell ringers starting around Black Friday and continuing through Christmas Eve.
The 2016 Tree of Lights campaign ended by raising $103,412, making it the second year in a row the organization had exceeded its goal. During Christmas, 611 families received Christmas food boxes, and 1,073 children received a total of 2,146 toys.