MOUNT VERNON -– For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas. The Rescue Christmas Campaign began on Sep. 14 across the country.
The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.
Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available.
"In Knox County, we served 1,143 people last year," said Capt. Christine Moretz. "If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean 1,771 people who need our help this holiday season."
At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles.
"In Mount Vernon and Knox County, we were able to raise $93,636.94 to meet the needs right here in our own community," said Moretz.
"We have seen new faces and new families call and reach out for assistance. Many have lost jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. Our goal is to rescue Christmas during one of the most difficult years we have faced together," she continued. "Our mission remains to share God's love and meet human need in His name without discrimination. We only do this with the army alongside the Army. Thank you for helping us help others."
Since March, The Salvation Army of Mount Vernon has provided more than 3,770 meals, 1,000 nights of safe shelter, 18,320 gallons of milk and 954 food orders including 138 new families.
"We have also provided emotional and spiritual support to over 500 people in need. Now more than ever, they’re making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Ohio," she said.
Here's how the community can help:
- The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
- Our bell ringers will be out from Nov. 17 thru Dec. 24 at area businesses. To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Ohio.
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
- Give any amount by texting “MTVKETTLE” to 41444.
- 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.
Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit RescueChristmas.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year. If you need services or know of someone in need, please visit https://neo.salvationarmy.org/northeastohio/mount_vernon to find a location near you.
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.