Arlington, Texas —The Dallas Cowboys took time before their matchup against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday to join representatives from The Salvation Army in announcing that actress and double-platinum recording artist Selena Gomez will perform live at halftime during the Cowboys' nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game, kicking off The Salvation Army's 123rd Red Kettle Campaign.
"Dallas is my hometown, and to be invited to perform on behalf of The Salvation Army is such a great honor," said Gomez. "Giving back is so important, and I am looking forward to kicking off the iconic Red Kettle Campaign and getting those bells ringing across the nation to help families and children in need."
The Cowboys have partnered with the Army to launch the Red Kettle Campaign – the longest-running fundraiser in history – on Thanksgiving Day since 1997, raising over $1.75 billion in 16 years for meals, clothing, shelter, Christmas toys and countless other services for millions of families in need. Gomez is the newest addition to an impressive list of Red Kettle Kickoff performers, including Kenny Chesney, Enrique Iglesias, Keith Urban, the Jonas Brothers, Destiny's Child, Reba McEntire and others.
"We are thrilled to have Selena kick off the Red Kettle Campaign and be a part of this time-honored tradition," said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys executive vice president, chief brand officer and driving force behind the Cowboys-Salvation Army partnership. "Her amazing performance, a national stage and huge, enthusiastic fan base will be a powerful start to Red Kettle 2013."
Anderson, who oversees the production of the Red Kettle Kickoff, has also led The Salvation Army's National Advisory Board as its chair since 2010 – the first woman to ever serve in this distinguished position. Under her direction and that of her parents Gene and Jerry Jones, who are members of both the Army's National Advisory Board and Dallas County Board, the Cowboys support The Salvation Army in numerous initiatives year-round.
"The Salvation Army touches so many lives and provides nourishment, shelter and support for children and families in the most need," said Anderson. "Together with Selena, we celebrate the important impact of The Salvation Army's work in doing the most good."
At age 21, Gomez is sure to grow and inspire a fresh new audience for Salvation Army support. She has had a tremendous year 2013, highlighted by the release of her fourth album "Stars Dance" with its lead single "Come and Get It" rising to number one and earning her an MTV Video Music Award for "Best Pop Video." She is currently wrapping up her "Stars Dance World Tour."
"You should expect something new with a twist of old," Gomez hinted of her Red Kettle Kickoff performance. "We had to make it special for my hometown."
Growing up in Texas, where her family still resides, Gomez said being a Cowboys fan was "natural." She recalls watching past Red Kettle Kickoffs, and cited Kelly Clarkson as a favorite past performer.
"I don't think you can be from Texas and not watch a Cowboys Thanksgiving game," she said.
With Thanksgiving falling later this year on Nov. 28, the Red Kettle Campaign, which runs through Christmas Day, will be five days shorter, but national community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army, Major Ron Busroe, expressed little worry.
"We are confident that the attention that partners likes Selena Gomez and the Dallas Cowboys are bringing to the cause will more than make up the difference," he said.
Come Thanksgiving Day, fans and supporters may donate to the Red Kettle Campaign on Gomez's Online Red Kettle at www.onlineredkettle.org/selenagomez. The top five fundraisers will receive the chance to virtually connect with Gomez through a Google Hangout.
Supporters may also donate by texting the word "KETTLE" to 80888, or, of course, drop donations directly in red kettles in streets across the nation.
From its humble beginnings as a startup program in 1891 in San Francisco, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. More than 25,000 volunteers and Salvation Army representatives will give their time to ring bells in support of the cause this holiday season.
"Our mission, this year and always, will be to serve those in need and ensure that they have a warm, comfortable place to sleep and hot food to eat," said Busroe.
To learn more about the history behind the Jones family and Dallas Cowboys' unique partnership with The Salvation Army, click here.