LA CROSSE – The Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year kicks off early this year, but 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.  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. 

“In La Crosse County, The Salvation Army has served over 125,000 last year and 369 families during the holiday season,” says Major Jeff Richardson of The Salvation Army, “If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean there will be at least 500 families who need our help during this upcoming holiday season.”

Since March, The Salvation Army of La Crosse County has provided more than 45,000 meals, nearly 7,000 individuals with immediate housing and safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to over 400 people in need. Now more than ever, they’re making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Wisconsin:

  • 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.
  • To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
  • Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Wisconsin.
  • Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
  • Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

New this year: all kettles in La Crosse County will not have public items such as bells or aprons at the kettle to avoid the risk of spreading disease.  The Salvation Army will be hosting a bell ringer drive on November 10th and 11th where community members will be provided their own personal pair of bells, a mask, and precautions on how to ring bells in a socially distanced environment.  For a list of bell ringing sites: visit www.RegisterToRing.com

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit www.RescueChristmas.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, please visit www.SAlacrosse.org to find a location near you.

About The Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.