Fewer people out shopping this year means a drop in Salvation Army kettle donations. But you can still help

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Salvation Army works hard year-round to help those in need in a variety of ways. Typically the bulk of their fundraising happens during the holiday season when people hear that bell and stop at the red kettle.

Retail foot traffic is way down during the pandemic and not expected to recover much during the next few months. Because of that, the Salvation Army is projecting a 50% drop in kettle donations.

"That's why we put together with national this campaign called "Rescue Christmas", said public relations director Donal Ware. "Simply because you won't have as many people that will be out shopping. A lot of people won't necessarily be carrying cash or change."



The soup line in Wake County and visits to the food pantry have seen a dramatic increase since March. The Salvation Army is dedicated to serving those who are struggling to find food and shelter --a population that has grown about 155% since last year.

"We've seen maybe an excess of 100 people a day that have come to the soup line," Ware said. "Even though our food pantry program we're starting to see more of an uptick and the community has been very good in terms of donating."

In fact usually, at this time there is a shortfall in the pantry. Not this year, which is a good thing. The worry though is what happens during the holidays when out-of-sight might be out-of-mind.

"We're known obviously for Christmas with the red kettles, so we want to generate the awareness now that there are other ways that people can make donations whether it's via our website at rescuechristmas.org or via wakearmy.org," Ware said.

Last year 60 kettles in Wake County pulled in more than $330,000. With COVID concerns that number is sure to be way down.

"We want people to donate what you can but we think if a lot of people are able to do that should help us at least be able to sustain what we were able to do last year," Ware said.

Technology is making it even easier to donate.

Through Alexa, all you have to say is "Alexa, donate to the Salvation Army."

If you want to go the more traditional route to help out, the red kettle will be onsite at Hobby Lobby stores in Raleigh and Cary beginning November 9.
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