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Salvation Army hopes to ‘Rescue Christmas’

STEUBENVILLE — For the first time in 130 years, the Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas.

Locally, the Salvation Army of Steubenville will kick off its kettle campaign on Nov. 2

The 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.

“In Steubenville, we served 215 families last year. If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean 250 families who need our help this holiday season,” noted a news release from Capts. Mike and Angie Smith, the new corps commanding officers of the Salvation Army of Steubenville.

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, according to the release.

“To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles. Locally, we raised $56,590 last year.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone, from the youngest to the oldest person, according to the Smiths. “We see a need beyond the normal need this Christmas season. As a community we must help Rescue Christmas for those who need help/”

Since March, the Salvation Army of Steubenville has provided more than 771 food boxes in addition to emotional and spiritual support to more than 150 people in need.

The Smiths note that, now more than ever, the Salvation Army is making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Ohio:

– 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.

“We will be having our annual Red Kettle Campaign this year, starting on Nov. 2. To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, the Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols,” according to the Smiths.

– Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Ohio.

– Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.

– Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.

– Donate physical gifts in bulk.

– Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

“We need everyone’s help to ‘Rescue Christmas’ for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Smiths noted.

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

For information, visit RescueChristmas.org to donate or call the Salvation Ary of Steubenville at (740) 282-5121.

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