The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on many people, businesses and organizations—including The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland which said it has fewer bell ringers collecting donations in a time where needs are at a record high.
Local needs for The Salvation Army food programs have increased more than 174% since March, the organization said.
Due to the greater need, The Salvation Army is depending on the annual holiday program that features the famous red kettles and bell ringers to keep their services going.
The problem, however, is that there are less bell ringers this year amid the pandemic, putting fundraising efforts behind.
“Where we have kettles, we are seeing good donations from the community. However, we simply don’t have enough folks to staff all of our kettle locations. Health concerns around COVID have drastically reduced our ability to have bell ringers at each of our retail partners.” said Major Thomas Applin, Divisional Secretary of Greater Cleveland Area Services.
With just two weeks left, The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland kettle campaign is behind $400,000, the organization said.
The goal for this year’s fundraising drive is $650,000, with the funds going to provide Christmas assistance, emergency food, housing and utility assistance, after school activities and programs for seniors.
In order to keep the community safe this holiday season, The Salvation Army is offering contactless donations at the famous red kettles, providing the options for individuals to donate using Apple Pay and Google Pay.
There is also a virtual online kettle for those who would like to donate from home.
The Salvation Army provided four ways individuals can help those in need this season: