LOS ANGELES - They are traditional sounds of the season. Through the years, the Salvation Army relied on its annual Red Kettle Campaign to raise money for its programs to buy toys for children, meals for families, and warm beds for those without shelter. But this year, the non-profit has only received half of what it normally does.
"It has been a really difficult season for the Salvation Army. It’s been challenging to get our kettles out there where we would’ve had our kettles," said Salvation Army South Division Colonel John Chamness.
Due to the pandemic, there were fewer volunteers and many stores declined to allow bell ringers outside. The money has trickled in, but the need remains at an all-time high.
"In terms of actual dollars, we’ve raised about half of what we would’ve normally raised. At the same time, the Salvation Army has been at the forefront of the pandemic since it hit the United States earlier this year.
"We have been providing food and shelter to literally hundreds of thousands of people. We have provided over 8 million meals just since March," Chamness explained.
The non-profit is so accustomed to doing its work on the frontlines. However, due to the global pandemic, they shifted their efforts online and launched a virtual fundraising campaign, reminding its generous supporters their donations go well beyond the Christmas holiday.
"Many people don’t realize the money raised during the Christmas season gets spread out over 12 months for food pantries, which are absolutely essential to so many people who have lost their jobs," he said.
One thing that has not changed this year is the organization’s mission, its resolve, and its crusade to assist.
"Salvation Army has pivoted in a significant way in terms of the services that we provide across SoCal to ensure that hungry needy people can look to us and there they kind find hope and a helping hand in the midst of this global pandemic," Chamness said.
If you would like to donate, you can find the Salvation Army online.