What Does The Salvation Army Accept – Salvation Army appeal campaign suffers as many stores close With shops and malls across the country operating during the pandemic, the charity’s iconic campaign could bring in half as many donations as last year.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is expecting fewer donations and volunteers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP hide caption
What Does The Salvation Army Accept
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is expecting fewer donations and volunteers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Long a fixture outside malls and stores across the United States, Salvation Army bell ringers are a staple holiday tradition. But this year, with the coronavirus pandemic and many stores closed, people won’t hear as many bells.
The charity relies on donations from its red kettle campaign to raise enough money to help millions of Americans this holiday season. This is especially true this year when so many people are out of work and suffering financially. So, with the passing of shops and kettle donations falling, the charity is turning to technology and its enthusiastic volunteers to keep the tradition going.
In 1891, Joseph McFee, a Salvation Army captain, was concerned about the number of people starving in San Francisco. He decided he wanted to give people a free Christmas meal. McFee raised the money by displaying a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign reading, “Keep the pot boiling.” The tradition has continued ever since.
Last year, the Salvation Army bell ringers raised $126 million. But so far in 2020, cash donations have plummeted due to the pandemic, although there has been an increase in clothing donations.
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“At the moment we expect the red kettle campaign to be 50% less than last year,” says Kenneth Hodder, national commander of the Salvation Army.
He says donors have been giving generously online, but the amount of money coming in won’t be enough to cover the Salvation Army’s needs for the holidays. This will make the organization have even more online efforts than ever before.
“We can’t do everything the public expects of us unless we find other ways to support our work,” says Hodder.
The red boiler campaign will continue this year and all volunteers will be required to wear masks and be properly socially distanced. Donors don’t have to touch the cauldrons if they don’t want to. There will be a QR code on each cauldron so people can contribute electronically using their smartphones. And the organization is creating different ways for people to donate, including a red cauldron challenge. This allows people to contribute online or be a virtual bell ringer.
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“Last year, the Salvation Army served about a million meals a week nationally,” he says. “In the last seven months, with the pandemic, we have served more than 100 million meals.”
Take it from the millions of Americans who can’t afford enough food because of the pandemic relief in DC.
About 2.5 million people typically come to the Salvation Army for help during the holidays, Hodder says. This year, the organization expects another 4 million.
“So we’re looking at potentially 6.6 million people who don’t have money for rent or utilities, can’t buy Christmas presents for their kids, can’t put food on the table and other issues that come up,” says Hodder. “These are all people who need our help.
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The Salvation Army relies on money earned from its own stores to help with the holidays, but this year will be different as many of those stores have closed due to the pandemic.
“The stores are a key part of the Salvation Army,” says Hodder. “They help provide financial support for general Salvation Army services such as rent, utilities, food assistance and our main facilities.”
Amid the pandemic-related closures, Hodder says he doesn’t think the cash donations the organization has received are enough to replace what the stores usually bring.
Some locations have allowed red kettles to be put up before, but this year several retailers have limited the number of days the organization can be in front of their stores, says Salvation Army Maj. Donald Dohmann, area commander in Hampton Roads , Virginia.
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Usually in your area, the red kettle campaign starts on the first weekend of November. But this year, some vendors asked for it to be delayed until after Thanksgiving for safety reasons due to the coronavirus.
“We’re basically losing a month’s worth of calls,” Dohmann says. “With fewer volunteers, I’m definitely a little worried.”
He says Black Friday weekend is usually a big one for boilermakers. But due to the pandemic, some retailers are not participating in Black Friday, which reduces traffic.
And the lack of national currencies makes the situation worse. “People often put their change in pots, but if you don’t have any, you don’t have to donate,” says Dohmann.
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Another concern of the Salvation Army is the annual Angel Tree program. Corporations and individuals can adopt these angels (families, children and seniors in need) and purchase Christmas gifts from the angels’ wish lists. Lt. Chantel Millin, Salvation Army corps officer in the Houston area, says she has already seen a drop in the number of angels received compared to previous years.
“We honestly just trust and believe that our community can pull through. And we usually do,” he says. “This year has been tough for everyone, especially our kids and seniors. They deserve it.”
Although there are fewer volunteers than in previous years, many are still happy to help. Last year the Salvation Army had more than 25,000 volunteers for the red kettle campaign.
Harold Hepfer rang the bell for a Salvation Army campaign a few years ago. The Salvation Army-Kansas City hide caption
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Harold Hepfer, 81, a Salvation Army volunteer in the Kansas City area, has been ringing the bell for the organization for 41 years.
“I’ll put on the mask, the gloves, and ring the bell,” Hepfer says. “I think it’s really important because he needs money to help. And a lot of people need help right now.”
Jo-Ann Lessa, a Salvation Army volunteer in New Bedford, Massachusetts, has received help from the organization for years. This year, take the opportunity to give back. Lessa and her family started delivering boxes of food with their van. Lessa is doing all this while waiting for a kidney transplant that has been postponed due to the pandemic.
“I do it because I want to, not because I have to or anything like that,” he says.
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The Salvation Army is not the only charity facing a challenging year. Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks, is struggling to keep up with growing needs as it faces falling food donations.
“Typically, we work with a larger amount of donated food and maybe pay the shipping costs. We spend more money to actually buy truckloads of food,” says Zuani Villarreal, director of communications for Feeding America. “We’re probably buying 30% more than last year.”
Villarreal says food insecurity is nothing new, but the pandemic has just shone a brighter light on the cracks in the system. Approximately 35 million Americans were food insecure and faced hunger last year. He says the number is likely to rise to 50 million this year, according to the group’s research, because of the pandemic.
“We are in a difficult time, but if we can all come together right now and do something for the needs of our neighbors, we can pull through,” he says. Across the country, millions of Americans are suffering the continuing effects of the pandemic. Faced with challenges such as loss of jobs and income, hunger and the inability to pay bills, they are forced to make difficult choices between basic needs.
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If you or a loved one needs help, contact your local Salvation Army to find out what services are available in your area.
The essential services we provide year-round—homeless shelters, food pantries, disaster relief, veterans services and more—benefit our nation’s most vulnerable people. Homeless families and people living in poverty have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a lack of information and access to good sanitation.
We know that concerned Americans are looking for ways to help during this crisis. The Salvation Army will continue to open our arms, hearts and doors to those who need us, but our homeless shelters and food pantries are quickly reaching capacity. We are working to find alternatives and solutions to this reality, such as mobile food services and deliveries to families in need of shelter.
Please consider helping us help your neighbors in need during this crisis. You can be sure that your donation will stay in your area.
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A: To support The Salvation Army, a monetary donation ensures that we can continue to provide services in your community. Financial contributions allow us to respond quickly to changing needs,
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