The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign on November 13, 2020. 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 Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available. In Watertown, we served over 800 people last year. If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean 1,240 people who need our help 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, we raised $80,000 last year.
Captain Karissa Zumwalt, Salvation Army Administrator, said "This year, more than ever, we are seeing many people without jobs which means they are in need of food, financial assistance, and holiday assistance…some for the first time ever. COVID has created a fear that these needs will not be met and we want to help relieve that fear by helping families and individuals in any way we can."
Since March, The Salvation Army Watertown has provided more than 7,000 meals, 33 nights of safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to over 40 people in need. Now more than ever, they’re making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Watertown:
- The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month. Visit RescueChristmas.org to donate.
- Donate at Red Kettle locations: County Fair, HyVee, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Walgreens, Trav's Outfitters, and Runnings.
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Watertown.
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
- Donate physical gifts or food in bulk at 621 4th Street SE.
- Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
If you would like to volunteer to ring bells this year call Lt. Zac at 886-4030 or visit RegisterToRing.com.