ARIZONA NEWS

Salvation Army Red Kettle donations below goal amid coronavirus

Dec 23, 2020, 12:15 PM

(Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP, File)...

(Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP, File)

(Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP, File)

PHOENIX — As the final days of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign draw near, the organization said in a press release Tuesday that only 63% of its goal to raise $1.45 million for the Valley has been met.

The lack of donations is attributed to the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in some retail stores being closed, decreased foot traffic and people carrying less cash and coins.

“The need has never been greater, and we are at an important juncture in our Red Kettle Campaign,” Major David Yardley, the organization’s metro Phoenix program coordinator, said in the release.

“But we’ve witnessed extraordinary acts of kindness and giving during this challenging year, and The Salvation Army has many ways for those who can help to make a gift to aid the less fortunate people in our community.”

The drop wasn’t surprising, as the organization’s website said a 50% decrease in red kettle funds was expected amid the pandemic.

People can still make donations by dropping money into any red kettle at storefronts around the Valley or doing a contactless donation from a mobile device by using Apple Pay, Google Pay or QR codes on the Red Kettle signs.

Donations can also be made online, by texting “RedKettles” to 51555 or asking Alexa smart devices to “Make a donation to the Salvation Army.”

The annual campaign surrounding the holidays provides nearly 20% of gifts for the entire year to the Valley branch of The Salvation Army, according to the release, which is used to help more than 200,000 people a year.

Local programs and services offered by The Salvation Army include food for the hungry, clothing and shelter for the homeless, rent and utility assistance, senior activity and outreach, adult rehabilitation, disaster and heat relief and opportunities for underprivileged children, with 82 cents of every dollar donated directly supporting these year-round services.

The iconic red kettles were introduced over a century ago in 1891 in San Francisco to provide a free holiday dinner to the poor, according to the release.

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Salvation Army Red Kettle donations below goal amid coronavirus