The Salvation Army’s 2012 Christmas Kettle drive and is underway and officials are hoping to collect over $1 Million in donations this year.

Volunteers are in the malls and on the streets ringing bells and taking donations for this year’s campaign.

“I say Merry Christmas. Thank you, every cent helps. If anybody puts even a penny in, our numbers for dollars that we’ve taken in would substantially increase,” said Volunteer, Catherine Jackson.

It all started in San Francisco back in 1891 and in Canada the kettles have been a holiday tradition for almost as long.

“The reason I make the donation is cause they always bless me and I feel so much better after I’ve made the donation and received a blessing,” said Gord Duncan.

More than 1000 bell ringers work in three hour shifts, six days a week at 70 locations spread throughout the city to drum up donations.

The 2012 kettle drive is now officially underway and the money goes to buy toys and clothing for low income families.

Officials say there has been a ten percent increase in requests this year.

Last year 7100 children had something under the tree because of the kettle drive.

For more information or to make a donation, visit the Salvations Army’s website.