Salvation Army sets out to ‘Rescue Christmas’

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today file photo Keiki ride in The Salvation Army van Dec. 8, 2018, during the Kailua-Kona Community Christmas Parade.

For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army started its annual holiday fundraising campaign early throughout the country in order to “Rescue Christmas.”

The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are a major source of annual support for direct services during the holidays and throughout the year. These funds are at risk this year because of COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.

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Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155% 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.

Last year in Hawaii, The Salvation Army served more than 88,000 individuals.

At the same time, because of the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50% decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit the capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised in red kettles nationally, including approximately $700,000 in Hawaii.

“… We are launching virtual red kettles to help ensure we are able to meet the ever-growing needs of our island communities,” said Maj. Jeff Martin, 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 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 Hawaii. As part of the recent “Rescue Christmas” announcement, The Salvation Army is making it safer and simpler to donate to support the most vulnerable in Hawaii:

• Virtual red kettles were launched for each island community. Visit HawaiiRedKettle.org and then scroll down to select the island community to support.

• The Salvation Army also will soon announce potential locations for the iconic red kettles and bell ringers.

• To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.

• Supporters will be able to donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Hawaii.

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given.

Visit Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army “Rescue Christmas” this year. If you need services or know of someone in need, visit Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org to find a location.

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The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division covers the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, including Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands and The Federated States of Micronesia. The division offers a wide variety of programs throughout the islands.

For more information, visit hawaii.salvationarmy.org or follow the organization on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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