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Salvation Army in need of donations amid pandemic

Bay Area

CONCORD, Calif. (KRON) — The Salvation Army helps more than 30 million Americans each year.

And this year, it’s serving millions more because of the pandemic and job loss.

The charitable organization relies heavily on donations to its Red-Kettle campaign but as the Salvation Army in Concord explains, there are a lot less volunteers and places to ring at this year which has a trickle down effect.

From grocery stores, to retail shops and malls, this familiar sound around the holidays is becoming harder to find.

With less bell ringers and less spots to ring at because of the coronavirus pandemic, Major Gwyn Jones at the Salvation Army in Concord says they’re in desperate need of more help.

“Right now we’re averaging about six to 10 a day. Normally we’d have 20 to 30 per day so it’s a lot less and our totally roster of bell ringers might be as many as 100 so we’re really short with ringers,” Major Gwyn Jones said. “I mean there’s been a few days where we’ve only had three people.”

The Salvation Army relies on its Red-Kettle campaign donations to raise enough money to help millions of Americans around the holidays, but it’s proving to be more difficult this year with less donations in the red kettles.

“Right now we could be in as much of a drop just for Contra Costa County of $100,000 income,” Jones said.

The Salvation Army anticipates the national Red-Kettle campaign will bring in about 50% less than last year. 

This comes as the need for help more than doubled this year in places like Contra Costa County.

“We’ve had many folks that come in who wouldn’t be who we’d typically help,” Jones said. “Some folks have come in quite emotional who’ve never come to a food pantry before.”

In addition to bell ringers, Jones says the Concord Salvation Army also needs canned goods, and toy donations to its Christmas toy program where they will provide gifts for 1,200 children in Contra Costa County this holiday. 

This year, people can donate online, or if you see a bell ringer, donors can use a QR code on the kettle for a touchless transaction.

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