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Salvation Army sets out to “rescue Christmas” by starting holiday fundraising efforts early

Salvation Army asking for help this Christmas
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - While all eyes may be on Halloween, the Salvation Army is already looking ahead to Christmas. They’re worried about how the pandemic will impact the annual Red Kettle Campaign.

That’s why the Salvation Army is calling on the community to rescue Christmas this year.

Funds raised through the Red Kettle campaign are at risk, but the requests for services are at an all-time high.

“This is going to be the hardest Christmas I have seen, and I have been doing this for Salvation Army for 27 years,” said Major Jim Irvine, Capital Area Salvation Army.

Major Jose Tamayo of Jackson County and Major Jim Irvine of the Capital Area say due to the pandemic, more Mid-Michigan families are in need. They expect the need will only increase around the winter holidays.

“We anticipate about a 155% between now and Christmas of those in need in the area,” said Major Tamayo.

Last year, the Salvation Army raised $126 million with its Red Kettle Campaign nationwide. The money goes to providing food, shelter, bill and Christmas assistance.

This year, Major Tamayo expects half of that.

“A lot of the locations we have depended on may not be able to let us ring,” said Tamayo. “We haven’t heard no, but we haven’t heard yes either.”

Hoping to make up for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Salvation Army is starting their fundraising early with a virtual twist.

It’s called Rescue Christmas.

“The virtual kettle is a very simple concept. You set a goal and contact your family members to raise money,” explained Tamayo.

In this way, Major Irvine says you become an online bell ringer.

“People will be able to go online and make a challenge for their company or family to help raise money,” said Tamayo. “We have had donors give and have come to us now because of COVID and say ‘I used to give but now I find myself in need’ and the only way we can continue to be there is with support.”

Donations given to the Jackson County and Capital Area chapters will stay in those counties to help local families.

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