The Salvation Army: 33% Shortfall in Red Kettle Donations, 40% Increase in Requests

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign© wdstock / Getty Images Signature / Canva

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The holiday season tends to magnify the needs of those struggling in our community.  This season The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division is urging those who can to help folks in need by supporting its annual Red Kettle Campaign.

The organization reports that its Red Kettle donations are down nearly 33%, while requests for assistance have surged more than 40% over this time last year.

“Without the help from our community members, we will not reach that little child who is on the verge of not having a Christmas this year,” said Lt. Colonel Larry Ashcraft, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division.

The Army has an opportunity to make inroads toward this lagging support. This Friday, December 9, The Salvation Army is challenging community members to help raise $1.5 million through the National Commander’s Challenge by donating to a local participating Red Kettle, in person or online. The total amount raised in each participating Kettle during that day will be matched.

“This is an opportunity to stretch the impact of your gift. Please find your local Red Kettle on Friday and give what you can,” said Ashcraft. “This long-standing tradition has helped the Army assist our neighbors in need for more than a century, and this year, we need your support more than ever before. Please join us in this important endeavor. Donate what you can to a kettle or online. Ring a bell at a Red Kettle. Real people are depending on us. Every gift counts.”

Throughout the holiday season, if individuals are unable to physically give to a Red Kettle, they can visit The Salvation Army Eastern & Pennsylvania Division’s Virtual Red Kettle to give and share the link encourage others to give through the website. Donations are tracked by the donor’s zip code, which means his or her money will stay local to help their neighbors in need. Not only will the money go toward The Salvation Army’s holiday assistance programs – it will help The Salvation Army sustain its food pantries and distribution programs, shelter and housing programs, case management programs, recreational and educational programs for youth, and much more.

Individuals can also sign up on The Salvation Army’s website to stand at Red Kettles in areas throughout the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware region. The Salvation Army’s classic Red Kettle campaign dates back to 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee’s vision of feeding 1,000 poor San Franciscans Christmas dinners. In 1900, Cadet Amelia Kunkle was the first-ever bell ringer to stand with a Kettle and encourage donations.

The number of volunteers for this cherished activity has fallen since COVID-19, even as the need for the money they raise each year has increased. So, now The Salvation Army is putting out a call for groups and individuals to get involved, make people smile and raise money that will benefit thousands of people in the region.

This year its holiday message from The Salvation Army, “Love Beyond Christmas,” is meant to build awareness for individuals and families who continue to be impacted by poverty during the holiday season and year-round – whether they are homeless, on the verge of eviction, or hungry. In 2021, The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division served over 4.5 million meals to individuals across the region. The organization provided almost 446,000 nights of shelter to individuals in need over the same span.

“There are so many ways to volunteer, and there are many ways to give. No matter how you choose to assist, you are helping to create a positive, lasting memory for a family who needs it most.”

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