For the first time in 130 years, the Salvation Army started its annual holiday fundraising campaign in October in an effort to #RescueChristmas, the nonprofit said this week.
“We are expecting more than 2,000 families in Monroe County to come to the Salvation Army for help to put food on their table and presents under the Christmas tree for their children,” said Salvation Army of Greater Rochester Director of Operation for Monroe County Debbie Burr. “This is a substantial increase from the 1,500 families we served last year during the Christmas season.”
At a time when requests for Salvation Army services are at an all-time high due to COVID-19, the funds raised through the organization’s iconic Red Kettles are at risk due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
In Rochester, the Salvation Army has seen a more than 50 percent increase in need since March, which includes helping families put food on the table, helping to pay for prescriptions and providing shelter for the homeless.
Since March, the Salvation Army has served more than 9,000 people and given out more than 5,000 boxes of food, for a total of more than 100,000 meals, officials said this week.
“Our four homeless shelters have also remained open during these turbulent times as the Salvation Army remains committed to continued care for the most vulnerable people in our community,” Burr said.
The Red Kettle campaign will kick off Thursday, Nov. 12 with the first bell ringers headed out on Friday. The goal is to raise $350,000 by Christmas Eve.
“We know this is going to be a challenging Christmas season as many people who would normally donate to the campaign may not be going out as much or might not be able to afford to donate this year,” Burr said. “We are going to adapt to the situation as best we can, and we need the community’s help so that we can provide hope to those who need it the most.”
This year there are more ways to donate including via text, online or digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay.