The Salvation Army and Sheetz have collaborated to do good by bringing holiday cheer to underprivileged children for several years. Today, they announced the successful conclusion of their 2020 Sheetz For the Kidz™ holiday program, which was part of The Salvation Army’s ‘Rescue Christmas’ campaign. Thanks to Sheetz employees’ and customers’ generosity, nearly 10,000 children in need from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina were able to celebrate the holiday season with new toys, clothes, and basic needs.
Prior to COVID-19, the Sheetz For the Kidz program worked with The Salvation Army to identify underprivileged children within Sheetz’s footprint and collect their holiday wish lists. Sheetz employees from each operating area would purchase items on the children’s wish lists, wrap them, and host parties for all the participating children. Customer donations were collected in Sheetz stores, and local fundraisers were held to support the program.
Two hundred and eighty-eight children were registered for the The Salvation Army of Wake County Red Shield Club.
In 2020, the program looked very different but was still a huge success. Over $1.7 million worth of items were distributed, and over 200 drive-by toy distributions were hosted, making the holiday season brighter for nearly 10,000 children in six states.
“The Salvation Army witnessed an unprecedented tsunami of need due to the pandemic in 2020,” said Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, National Commander of The Salvation Army. “The Sheetz For the Kidz program helped bring some holiday cheer to thousands of underprivileged children and was a wonderful addition to The Salvation Army’s Rescue Christmas campaign. We are grateful for the generous support of Sheetz and their commitment to helping us Do the Most Good.”
“Every child deserves to experience the joy of the holidays, and while the holiday season looked very different this year, we are proud that Sheetz For the Kidz and The Salvation Army were able to work together to still make the season brighter for so many children in our area,” said Sheetz President/COO Travis Sheetz. “This past year, the need was greater than ever before and we appreciate the continued dedication and passion of our employees, who are so committed to helping the communities their stores serve.”
Before the pandemic, one-in-six Americans lived in poverty, and more than 70% were living paycheck to paycheck. A new study released by Columbia University in October 2020 estimated that an additional eight million Americans had slid into poverty due to the pandemic. With the arrival of a new year, research by the Aspen Institute estimates 30-40 million people could be at risk of eviction in the months ahead.
The Salvation Army has witnessed the increased need through a lens of response, with more than 150 million meals, an additional 1.6 million nights of shelter, and emotional and spiritual care to 865,000 individuals to those reeling from the health and economic effects of COVID-19.