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Salvation Army launching virtual Red Kettles

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file photo

    Sarson Rudolf takes his turn ringing bell at The Salvation Army Red Kettle during last years launch of the Red Kettle and Angel Tree programs at Kukui Grove Center.

LIHU‘E — The Salvation Army broke a 130-year tradition by announcing its holiday fundraising campaign early to “Rescue Christmas.”

Funds raised through the iconic Red Kettles are a major source of annual support for direct services during the holidays as well as throughout the year. These funds are at risk this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, requests for services are at an all-time high, stated a Salvation Army spokesman.

Based on the increase in services already being provided in response to COVID-19, the Salvation Army could serve up to 155 percent more people in Christmas assistance in 2020. This includes putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree — assuming the resources are available.

Last year, the Salvation Army in Hawai‘i served more than 88,000 individuals.

In light of the increased demand for services, the Salvation Army could see a 50% decrease in funds raised nationally through the Red Kettles. This is due to the closing of retail stores, consumers having less cash and coins, and the overall decline in foot traffic.

The decrease in funds will impact the Salvation Army by limiting its capability to provide services for the most vulnerable.

During last year, $126 million was raised in Red Kettles nationally, including $700,000 in Hawai‘i.

“Today, we are launching virtual Red Kettles to ensure we are able to meet the ever-growing needs of our island communities,” said Major Jeff Martin, the divisional leader of The Salvation Army Hawaiian &Pacific Islands. “We humbly ask donors to step up now as we navigate the pandemic and serve communities during the upcoming holiday and Christmas season.”

Since March, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army Hawaiian &Pacific Islands Division has provided more than 200,000 meals, snacks, and drinks; more than 49,000 food boxes, and more than 14,000 basic needs items to those in need in Hawai‘i.

To make it easier to contribute, starting Monday, the Salvation Army is making it safer and simpler to donate.

Virtual Red Kettles have been launched for each island community. Simply visit HawaiiRedKettle.org, scroll down to select the island community to support.

The Salvation Army will also be announcing potential locations for the iconic Red Kettles and its bell ringers in the near future.

To ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors, and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally-mandated safety protocols at the Red Kettle locations.

Supporters will be able to donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any Red Kettle in Hawai‘i.

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. To contribute online, visit Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org.

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