LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - The Salvation Army will be starting its annual red kettle campaign more than two months early with the idea of meeting an increased need for assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our ability to raise vital funds to serve those in need this Christmas and beyond is at risk,” said Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, National Commander of The Salvation Army. “We need everyone who has the capacity to come alongside us and ensure that the holiday season is bright for millions. We're asking you to help rescue Christmas with us by providing support in any way you can. Our hope is to offset these challenges to meet the increasing demand for services across our nation.”
Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155% more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available.
At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50% decrease in funds raised through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised through about 30,000 red kettles.
Since March, The Salvation Army USA has provided more than 100 million meals, 1.5 million nights of safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to over 800,000 people.
Two-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling artist Lauren Daigle’s hit “Rescue” serves as the anthem for this effort, a fitting soundtrack for the help that The Salvation Army provides to more than 23 million people a year.
The Salvation Army, which is both a church and charity, has about 7,600 locations across the country, including houses of worship, shelters, feeding locations, senior centers and youth-oriented community centers.
The red kettle tradition dates to 1891, when a large pot was placed at a boat landing in San Francisco by a Salvation Army captain to raise money to provide Christmas dinners for poor and hungry people. The tradition of bell ringing at the kettles dates to 1901.