For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country 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 assistance during the holidays, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree, assuming the resources are available. In Greenville, Pickens & Oconee Counties, we served 31,000 people last year. If we continue to see the same level of increased requests for service, our social services offices may help more individuals and families in need than ever before this holiday season.
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 nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their 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. Locally, The Salvation Army of Greenville, Pickens & Oconee Counties raised $370,000 through about 70 red kettles.
Since March, The Salvation Army of Greenville, Pickens and Oconee Counties has continued to provide rent and/or utilities assistance, food assistance, clothing assistance, shelter services, men’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation services and more. Our social services staff has continued to help people in need while adjusting protocols to keep the public safe and healthy. Now more than ever, The Salvation Army is making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in our Greenville, Pickens and Oconee communities:
- The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in the Army that’s Doing the Most Good with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
- To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols. Locally, The Salvation Army will be announcing more information about kettles soon.
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at many of our red kettles in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee Counties.
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
- Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 41444.
- Donate physical gifts in bulk. Please email us here to speak to someone about this donation option.
- Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. More information about adopting Angel tree tags in Greenville, Pickens & Oconee Counties will be announced soon.
“This year has certainly been unexpected for everyone,” says Major Andrew Kelly, Area Commander of The Salvation Army of Greenville, Pickens & Oconee Counties. “Now more than ever, we are seeing increased requests for assistance across all of our services, and we are preparing to meet this increased need as we go into the Christmas season. If you are in need of help or would like to give help, please reach out to us at SalvationArmyGreenville.org.”
Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit RescueChristmas.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.