SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The Salvation Army is in need of some extra help this holiday season.
The cupboard is running low for two of their programs so they are asking the community to help donate ready-to-eat food items that can be included in snack packs and distributed to the homeless.
They are also seeking donations of frozen turkeys or hams that they can distribute to families so they can cook their own Thanksgiving dinner.
“Whatever we get donated, we’re going to give away,” said Salvation Army spokesperson Morgan Shiyou. “If we have more, we are going to give away more. So whatever people donate, we’ll appreciate and the clients really truly appreciate it themselves.”
Donations can be brought to the Salvation Army’s social services offices in Gulfport or Pascagoula during regular business hours.
The Salvation Army said in addition to food donations, they are once again looking for bell ringers and donations. It’s all part of the nonprofit’s famous Red Kettle campaign, which is now underway.
Every Christmas, hundreds of volunteers spread out across the country, braving the cold to stand at storefronts ringing a bell and collecting donations for the Salvation Army.
The Red Kettle Campaign raises money for programs hosted by the nonprofit throughout the year, such as providing food for the homeless, operating shelters, and providing social services to those in need.
Here on the Coast, the Salvation Army has a goal to raise $400,00 in South Mississippi, which includes Jackson, Harrison, Stone, Hancock, Pearl River, and George counties.
“It’s huge and it also raises awareness for the fact that we’re doing programs all year round,” said Maj. Bradley Caldwell with the Salvation Army. “We don’t just work at Christmas. Christmas is when we get the publicity, but we care about people every day all day.”
The Salvation Army Red Kettles can be found at Walmart, Walgreens, and Sam Club stores Monday through Saturday, beginning the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas Eve.
Major Caldwell says they’re always looking for new volunteers to go out and ring the bell. If you’d like to sign up to volunteer for the Red Kettle Campaign, go to www.RegisterToRing.com.
And now, the Salvation Army is now making it easier for people to donate to the Red Kettles by offering an online option. Smart chips and QR codes are being added to Red Kettles across the country so shoppers can quickly bump or scan their phones to donate digitally.
People will then be directed to a custom donation page that will accept Apple or Google payment options. Donated money is then distributed to local Salvation Army locations based on the donor’s billing zip code. Donors will also get a receipt of their donation emailed directly to their phone.
In its 129th year, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is one of the oldest charitable efforts in the world. Each year, the campaign raises millions of dollars to give kids toys for Christmas, as well as provide clothes and shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, after school programs for kids, and other services to the nation’s most vulnerable groups of people.
Donations are accepted at more than 25,000 Red Kettle locations across the country. People can also give online at give.salvationarmyusa.org or by texting KETTLE to 91999.