With volunteers ringing bells at 16 Casper locations, officials with the Salvation Army in Casper say its iconic Red Kettle campaign is exceeding expectations.

Though he would not comment on specific numbers, Salvation Army representative Mark Merritt says Casper residents have made the organization’s 2012 campaign a tremendous success.

“The Casper citizens have been incredibly generous and have opened up their hearts and wallets,” Merritt said. “I believe we’ll have the best year ever in our Red Kettle campaign this year in Casper.”

Merritt says all locally made Red Kettle contributions exclusively help the Salvation Army’s operations in Casper.

“This is our one fundraiser for the year, and it really determines how many people we can help, how many people we can serve and how many kids we can send to camp,” Merritt said. “It all comes from this Red Kettle campaign.”

Salvation Army officials say the program covers the majority of the charity’s operating expenses each year.

The Red Kettle campaign has been a Salvation Army staple since the late 1800s. The Salvation Army says bell ringers raised $147 million for the organization last year.