This year, the need is greater. That is the slogan for the Salvation Army’s 2020 holiday fundraising campaign, which for the first time in the organization’s 130-year history, is beginning about a month early.
Why so early? COVID-19 is why.
The organization is worried that because of the pandemic people may be carrying less cash and coins. That combined with predictions of more online shopping, fewer people out and about, unemployment and closures of retail stores that often host the army’s red kettles and bell ringers could mean a 50% decrease in funds raised this year.
Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155% more people in 2020. Donations help with homeless shelters, traditional housing and supportive housing, utility bills, groceries and during the holidays, presents for the Angel Tree program.
A television ad campaign is already underway, and donations are being accepted online at RescueChristmas.org.
Digitally savvy families can ask Amazon’s cloud-based voice service Alexa to initiate the donation for them by simply saying, “Alexa, donate to the Salvation Army,” then state the amount.
“The Salvation Army has agreements in place with several national retail partners allowing the red kettles to be placed in front of stores beginning the second week of November,” wrote Philip Burn, the Salvation Army Texas communications director, in an email on Monday.
To allow for touchless donations, there will be QR codes displayed at the red kettles to allow for payment via Google Pay, Apple Pay or NFC tag.
Bell ringers will be required to wear masks and to clean the kettles daily, and they will maintain social distancing.