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Salvation Army begins annual Red Kettle fundraiser ‘earlier than ever’ due to pandemic

National News

In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, photo, bell ringer Carolyn Harper encourages people to donate to the Salvation Army’s annual holiday red kettle campaign on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Cashless shoppers have a new option to give to the Army’s red kettle campaign this year using their smartphone. Leaders hope adding Apple and Google payment options will boost fundraising to the campaign, which makes up 10% of The Salvation Army’s annual budget. Those donations fund programs providing housing, food and other support to people in poverty. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is beginning its annual Red Kettle holiday campaign earlier than ever due to a greater need amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Salvation Army officials said requests for services are at an all-time high, and that the organization could serve up to 155% more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance.

This includes helping put food on the table, paying bills, proving housing, and helping put gifts under the tree if resources are available.

Because some retail stores remain closed and due to coronavirus restrictions, red kettles – which are usually located outside major storefronts – could see up to a 50% decrease in funds, according to officials.

Last year, $126 million was raised through about 30,000 red kettles.

Due to pandemic concerns this year, the Salvation Army is encouraging donations to be made in the following ways:

  • Digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle across the country.
  • Amazon Alexa by saying “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specify an amount.
  • Give any amount by texting “KETTLE” to 91999.
  • Donate physical gifts in bulk.
  • Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
  • And across the nation, local Salvation Army corps will be raising awareness of the need to rescue Christmas in their communities.

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given.

Visit to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.

If you need services or know of someone in need, please visit to find a location near you.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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