Salvation Army braces for low Red Kettle donations

Local News

The pandemic and people not carrying cash are both hurting the fundraising effort

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With just a few days left, the COVID-19 pandemic has not spared the Salvation Army and its annual Red Kettle campaign. A number of local Chapters not expecting to meet this year’s goals

“Best case scenario, if we get lucky and things happen, but we are probably looking right in the $70,000 range,” said Capt. Chris Williams.

Those in charge of this year’s campaign in Mahoning County have only collected about $79,000 so far, with a projected goal of $100,000. But that compares to almost $250,000 last year.

In Warren, $56,000 has been raised, not counting virtual donations while both Sharon and Salem are much closer to their goals.

“Not as many people are out and about nowadays because of COVID and everything. People are going more digital. They are not carrying cash,” Williams said.

But the pandemic is also making it harder for chapters just to staff their kettles. There are just three manned kettles in Mahoning County and both Sharon and Warren are experiencing the same problem.

In Youngstown, just ten people applied to be paid kettle workers when normally there are close to 40. Volunteers are down as well.

“We usually have a number of groups, a number of churches and service organizations. Now, some of them did it this year, but some of those didn’t because of COVID. We are probably down more than half of our volunteers,” said Major Paul Moore.

One bright spot could be the receipt of federal COVID relief funding that may help offset what the kettles don’t bring in. For now, the campaign will continue through Thursday afternoon.

“Our community, right here, we are a small community, but they’re mighty when to comes to the needs of helping others,” said Lt. Angelica Spence.

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