TIFTON – The Salvation Army is kicked off the Red Kettle fundraising season early because it predicts a greater need and a decrease in donations.
William Booth began the Salvation Army in 1865 as a means to help the suffering souls throughout London who were not willing to attend – or even welcomed into – a traditional church.
"Though General Booth died in 1912, he laid a firm foundation for the lifesaving work that The Salvation Army continues to perform today in over 100 countries," Susie Chitwood said.
Chitwood is the service extension rep for the Tifton location of Salvation Army.
The board met Nov. 11 to officially kick off the Red Kettle fundraising season. According to Chitwood, the Salvation Army is predicted to be at a greater need for the help and services it provides.
"Unemployment rates are expected to be 10%-11% and based on the increased service we’ve already provided this year due to COVID-19, we need resources to serve up to 155% more people with Christmas assistance," Chitwood said.
More requests are expected during the holiday season.
"COVID-19 has not only created a bigger need for us to fill, it has also decreased the number of traditional red kettles you’re used to seeing on street corners and at store entrances each Christmas season," she said. "In fact, we could see up to a 50% decrease in red kettle funds this year due to several factors"
Factors include unemployment, people walking around with less cash and coins, recent closures of brick-and-mortar locations and increased online shopping causing less foot traffic in retail locations.
The Salvation Army is looking for more volunteers to put on a successful season of fundraising, Chitwood said. Bell ringers, groups, individuals and businesses are needed. To volunteer for the Red Kettle fundraiser, email www.salvationarmyusa.org or call Isabella Waddell, kettle coordinator, (229) 386-1503.