The Salvation Army says this year’s Red Kettle campaign got off to a slow start and the annual fundraiser is far behind where it should be at this point in the season. The financial support from the community during the holidays supports The Salvation Army’s efforts to help more than 225,500 people in need across Upstate New York throughout the year.

Right now, The Salvation Army says it is 24% behind where it was last year with indicators that the needs they work to meet are even greater. Red Kettle donations fund the majority of The Salvation Army’s programs and services to help those in need year-round, including warming centers for the homeless, anti-human trafficking programs, counseling for domestic abuse victims, after-school programs for children, and helping families escape poverty by addressing challenges, like unemployment, unstable housing, and lack of education.

There are 5 fewer days this year for bell ringers to collect donations at the iconic Red Kettles, because of the late Thanksgiving. The State Commander, Major Ivan Rock, says that’s a big part of the problem and a slow Red Kettle Campaign could lead to dire consequences.

“Right now, donations are down at almost every Salvation Army location across the state and we believe it is from the shortened season,” Major Rock says. “We’re losing 5 days and it could have a devastating impact that will be felt next year if we don’t make up some ground.”

To help fill the gap, The Salvation Army is launching a couple of new promotions this week. On Thursday, law enforcement officers will help ring the bell at Kettle locations across Upstate New York to raise support during the Bells & Badges event. On Friday, The Salvation Army is asking neighbors to donate a $20 bill, check, bump or scan at the Kettle to help them close out the season successfully.

Major Rock, says, “This isn’t just about our bottom line. It’s about transforming lives. It’s about providing hope where there is none. It’s about the look we see in a child’s face when they see the love that comes from the entire community.”

The bell ringing and iconic red kettles have been a fixture of the holiday season for 128 years. The funds raised in the Red Kettle provide for Christmas assistance programs and year-round support for a list of programs, including homeless services and shelter, utility assistance, and feeding programs.


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