Salvation Army spokesperson Jeff Smith said based on the increase in service they’ve already experienced since the start of the pandemic, he predicted they could serve up to 155% more people across the Ozarks this holiday season. This can include helping place presents under the tree, putting food on the table, paying bills, and providing shelter for those without a home.
Major Jon Augenstein talked about how he’s seeing more people walk through their doors than ever before. “We’re finding people coming in who hadn’t been able to make it before now are coming to us for assistance and services, sometimes people who are finding themselves homeless,” said Augenstein.
In addition to the increased need for help, donations are also projected to be down. “This year, we could see up to a 50% decrease in funds raised through the iconic Red Kettle,” said the Salvation Army Springfield. This could be because of a variety of reasons, including a high number of retail stores that have closed, consumers carrying less cash and coins, less foot traffic in stores, and the growing number of people finding themselves unemployed.
Those interested and financially able to donate to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign can do so on their website with a one-time donation or a monthly donation. People can also become a virtual bell ringer and participate in the organization’s Rescue Christmas 2020 effort. Lastly, you can text to donate by sending “SAL” to 24365 from any mobile device.
Once the Red Kettles are out across the Ozarks, there will be several contactless payment options. There will be “Kettle Bump” technology allowing donors to pay with either Google Pay, Apple Pay, chip payment, or through a QR code.
The Salvation Army Springfield team notes that all kettles will be sanitized throughout the day and bell ringers will properly allow for social distancing while donors make donations.
People can expect to see Red Kettles in Greene County and Christian County closer to the holiday season.