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Early start for Salvation Army kettles

Lawanda Hanlon rings the bell while collecting donations at a Peru grocery store during the 2019 Christmas season.
Lawanda Hanlon rings the bell while collecting donations at a Peru grocery store during the 2019 Christmas season.

DeKALB – The Salvation Army is announcing a change to the iconic Red Kettle fundraising campaign for the first time in the organization’s 135-year history.

The Salvation Army launched Rescue Christmas in September, earlier than ever before, according to a news release. The organization is beginning its annual fundraising campaign nearly two months earlier than in a typical year, in order to meet an unprecedented need.

“The demand is greater than ever,” said Major Angie Pennington, corps officer at The Salvation Army DeKalb Corps Community Center. “We are anticipating that the number of people who will need help with food, covering a rent or utility payment, and Christmas gifts to be at an all-time high, and we want to continue to serve our community in that way.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army DeKalb Corps received approximately 25 calls per week for emergency assistance. Since mid-March, the corps has gotten nearly 20 calls per day.

At the same time, due to the closing of some retail stores, consumers carrying less cash, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50% decrease in funds raised nationally through the Red Kettles.

3M has committed to making a difference by pledging the first donation to the Rescue Christmas campaign. The $2,500 donation will cover the average amount raised in one day at the Red Kettles in DeKalb. The Salvation Army is hoping that other businesses in DeKalb County will partner with the organization and 3M to ensure that families do not go without during the upcoming holiday season.

Almost 70% of The Salvation Army’s donations are made during the Red Kettle Campaign. While the Red Kettles won’t hit the streets until November, The Salvation Army is asking for donations online now to help Rescue Christmas at www.SalArmyChristmas.org.

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