NEW YORK - For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early in order to "rescue Christmas".
The charity says that money raised through its iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.
It expected up to 155% more people to ask for assistance for Christmas in 2020, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter, and helping place gifts under the tree.
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 percent decrease in funds raised through the red kettles.
In 2019 $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.
To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors, and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols:
-Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle across the country.
-Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
Give any amount by texting “KETTLE” to 91999.
-Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.