For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas. The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.
Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available. In Muskogee we served 2,383 number of people last year. If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean more people who need our help this holiday season.
At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles. Locally in Muskogee, Christmas Kettles raised $65,454.83 in 2019.
“During the recession of 2008, The Salvation Army served 10 million more people than the previous year. This year of COVID-19, the numbers of people served will dwarf that number. In most of our service locations the increase in people needing help has more than tripled. Our centers of operation have remained open throughout this calamity. People are coming for food, for shelter, utilities, rent and mortgage. Many are desperate and hopeless. Our ‘business’ is to bring hope into places of darkness and despair. As this pandemic continues to take hold in our community, the need for help is increasing. We need your financial support to ensure that we can meet the needs of this hour,” said Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer, Divisional commander for The Salvation Army of Arkansas-Oklahoma.
Since March, The Salvation Army of Muskogee has provided more than 8,992 meals, and emotional and spiritual support to over 5,339 people in need.
To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
If you need services or know of someone in need, call (918) 682-3384.
You can help
Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given.
• The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
• Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Muskogee.
• Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
• Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.
• Donate physical gifts in bulk at 700 Independence Ave.
• Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
• Visit RescueChristmas.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.
• Information: (918) 682-3384.