“It would not be an exaggeration to say that since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, the Salvation Army has witnessed a tsunami of human need,” said Kenneth Hodder, National Commander of the Salvation Army.
Since March, the US Salvation Army has provided more than 100 million meals, 1.5 million nights of safe shelter, as well as emotional and spiritual support to over 800,000 people in the United States. They expect these numbers to grow, preparing for a 155% increase in the need for their services ahead of the holiday season. These services include putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter, and even helping to put gifts under the tree.
“We will go from our average of about 2.6 million people each year to more than 6.6 million people.”
“Our traditional campaign on the red kettle, symbol of Christmas and the mutual care of Americans, will be increasingly difficult this year,” Hodder told CNN.
“We believe Christmas is at risk for millions of Americans,” the commander said. “The need we see at Christmas will last well beyond the holidays.”
Last year, the Salvation Army raised $ 126 million with its Red Kettle campaign; they expect to bring in only half that amount this year.
“It would be disastrous for our ability to meet people’s needs,” Hodder said. “So, for us, the Christmas Kettle campaign is not just a symbol, but a means of acquiring the vital resources we need.”
Red Kettle goes virtual
Even though this year’s campaign started early, you won’t see as many kettles this season as you saw in past Christmas.
“Most people carry less money than ever before. We have less foot traffic in some stores, and as unemployment has risen, so many people who have given to the military in the past actually come to us for help.”
“People can visit that site today and they can provide a one-time donation, find volunteer opportunities, and even join the military and make a monthly support gift of $ 25,” Hodden added.
Local donations will continue to remain in the communities where those funds come from. The Salvation Army ensures that 0.82 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to helping those in need.
“We want to make sure everyone who comes to the Salvation Army gets what they need, not just for Christmas, but to know there is hope and a bright future ahead.”