For the first time in 130 years, the Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early in order to Rescue Christmas.
The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19, while requests for services are at an all-time high. Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155 percent 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.
Due to some retail stores closing, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and declines in foot traffic where red kettles are typically placed, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the kettles, which would limit its capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year, $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles, with the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware division raising over $3.3 million.
“There is no doubt the need is great this year,” said Maj. Timothy Sheehan, Salvation Army of Delaware state coordinator. “We have seen unprecedented need for our basic services since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people still out of work, we know the holidays will be especially challenging. That’s why we’re determined to stay on the front lines and do our part, with community support, to Rescue Christmas for those who come to us for assistance. We need everyone who can do so to come alongside us to make the holidays a little brighter for those who’ve fallen on tough times.”
Since March, The Salvation Army of Delaware has provided more than 157,000 meals, direct assistance, emotional and spiritual support to over 16,600 Delawareans in need, and safe shelter for over 1,800 Delawareans who had nowhere to go.
“Getting an early start with our red kettle season this year is crucial to our ability to continue to serve those most in need in Delaware,” said Sheehan. “Every dollar is critical. While you may not see our red kettles out and about until early November, we’ve made it safer and easier to donate now by giving online. We are hopeful that starting early will help us make up for any losses at the kettles and ensure that we can continue providing the critical services we offer to those in need.”
To help, Delawareans can enlist in Love’s Army by giving what they can online, safely and easily at give.salvationarmy.org. Physical gifts may be donated in bulk at a nearby Salvation Army location.
To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, the Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols. Face masks will be worn, and kettle equipment will be cleaned daily prior to use. Red kettle signs are also enabled with Apple Pay and Google Pay technology to promote contactless donations.