(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Salvation Army is ringing in this unprecedented holiday season with a new campaign, "Rescue Christmas."
“Because of the COVID, everything looks different. There’s going to be a lot more needs,” said Major Ronald Key, St. Joseph Salvation Army.
Nationally, the Salvation Army said this year, the need is greater. They're expecting to serve 155% more people this Christmas, but more need doesn't mean their red kettles are seeing any more cash.
“There’s less foot traffic, so we are seeing that. The stores are seeing it cause a lot of people are still doing curbside or delivery. With less foot traffic, there’s less opportunity for people to give you money. People have been generous so far, we are just a little bit behind. Maybe five percent,” said Major Key.
The Salvation Army is making donating easier this holiday. Those feeling the Christmas spirit can donate in-person through the kettles, online, through Google and Apple Pay or at the Salvation Army.
St. Joseph's Salvation Army is aiming for $127,000, matching last year's kettle donations. All donations stay in St. Joseph.
Major Key said a portion of the donations this holiday will go specifically towards families suffering from COVID-19 financial turmoil.
Joyce Edelstein, a bell ringer who has been collecting donations out in the cold for the better part of 20 years, said she continues to ring that famous Christmas bell because she was once that struggling mom the Salvation Army saved.
“They helped me and my son when we were needing help back when he was six months old. He’s now 47 years old,” said Joyce Edelstein, bell ringer.
Major Key is also extending their toy donation for an additional week citing less donations this year. Toy drop off sites are at both St. Joseph Walmarts, Sams Club and beginning this weekend, East Hills Shopping Center. Toys can be dropped off at the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army is running short on volunteer bell ringers. To volunteer, click here.