BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Salvation Army says it is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country for the first time in 130 years in an effort to "rescue Christmas."
The organization says the funds raised through its red kettle campaign are at risk this year, while requests for services are at an all-time high due to COVID-19.
Salvation Army says based on the increase in services it has already provided, it could serve up to 155 percent more people across the country with Christmas assistance.
The Empire State Division, which serves 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania, served 4.3 million meals in 2019, this year the division has served 5.4 million meals in the six months since COVID-19 hit.
Due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins and a decrease in foot traffic the Salvation Army says it could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised across the country through the red kettles.
The Salvation Army is calling on the public to help "rescue Christmas."
“We know that this year, the need for financial support is greater than ever before. We need your help to ensure Christmas is bright for those who need it most. We will continue to redefine what it means to Do the Most Good during these unprecedented times and we hope you will join us in rescuing Christmas for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors across New York State,” says Major Ivan Rock, State Commander for Empire State Division.
Here are some safe and simple ways you can help according to The Salvation Army:
- Enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in New York.
- Donate to the Virtual Red Kettle.
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
- Donate physical gifts in bulk.
- Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.