ALEXANDRIA, The 2015 Red Kettle Campaign collected $149.6 million, setting a new national fundraising record for the campaign. Thanks to the support of donors and corporate partners, the money raised will help The Salvation Army provide food, shelter and social services to nearly 30 million Americans in need this year.
"Although the retail landscape continues to shift, we're encouraged to see that Americans are still willing to give at our 25,000 kettles stationed across the country," said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army's National Headquarters. " The 2015 campaign was the largest year we've ever had for kettles, helping us lay the groundwork for a strong year of service in 2016."
The Salvation Army enjoyed a jam-packed holiday season with events and initiatives new and old. Starting from the top:
The Salvation Army continued its #RedKettleReason initiative, a movement fueled by America's motivations for donating to the red kettles. New this season, The Salvation Army kicked off the Red Kettle Reason Giving Spree contest, a chance for supporters to share their #RedKettleReason via video online to win a paid trip to New York City to participate in a shopping spree to buy toys and necessities that benefit a Salvation Army program in their community.
Entrants from across the country submitted videos, and the public voted for their favorite on RedKettleReason.org. Maddie Bonocore, 15, was selected as the winner, and The Salvation Army Giving Spree shopping event was featured on TODAY. Actor, producer, musician and Salvation Army supporter Nick Cannon joined Maddie to shop for toys benefitting The Salvation Army Children's Shelter in Kansas City.
#RedKettleReason continued to serve as the backbone of the campaign and gave supporters a platform to share their personal connection to the kettles and donate online. Celebrities, corporate partners and donors alike shared their reasons by tagging social posts with #RedKettleReason.
Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Dallas Cowboys and Red Kettle Kickoff performer Luke Bryan, along with The Salvation Army's International Commander, General André Cox, and National Commander, Commissioner David Jeffrey, kicked off the 2015 Red Kettle Campaign and #RedKettleReason with a satellite media tour at AT&T Stadium the day before Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys also showcased #RedKettleReason posts from the team, along with hundreds of others, on national television just before Bryan's Thanksgiving Day halftime performance. The campaign kickoff marked the 19th year the Cowboys organization has partnered with The Salvation Army to launch the iconic campaign during the nationally televised game. Since partnering with the team, the Red Kettle Campaign has raised nearly $2.2 billion.
The Cowboys also conducted a point-of-sale campaign at their Pro Shops and created a "Next 88" limited-edition T-shirt to honor the support The Salvation Army provided Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant growing up. For every T-shirt sold, the proceeds went to help support children and their dreams of becoming the "Next 88" in the field they pursue.
For the second year, Becky G headlined the Rock the Red Kettle Concert and got fans excited by sharing her own #RedKettleReason. The sixth annual concert also featured performances by Jacob Whitesides, Jake Miller, Quinn Martin, Tahj Mowry and Alec Bailey. In partnership with Teen Vogue, fans who shared their #RedKettleReasons won a variety of prizes, from a retweet from one of their favorite performers to a trip to Los Angeles to attend the concert and meet the artists before the show.
Leading up to and on #GivingTuesday, December 2, The Salvation Army was seen and talked about during national media appearances on the TODAY show with Nick Cannon (live on the plaza and in-studio), Access Hollywood Live and Steve Harvey. As a result, online donations increased by 28 percent that day. The week of Christmas, TODAY aired a segment featuring the Giving Spree shopping event.
Donations through salvationarmyusa.org totaled $34 million, with $4.5 million donated on the last day of the year. As a result, online donations were up 7.5% versus 2014.
Red kettles outside of 4,959 Walmart and Sam's Club locations across the U.S. collected $44.3 million, which contributed about 30 percent of the $149.6 million total. More than 2,300 locations of Kroger's family of stores hosted red kettles, raising a total of $16.8 million, or 11 percent of the $149.6 million total. Red kettles at roughly 700 JCPenney stores collected a total of $3 million for the campaign, and 700 Big Lots locations raised $1.2 million.
On select weekends from November 27 through December 13, thousands of Walmart stores hosted the fourth annual Fill the Truck event, collecting more than 93,000 toys and 3,000 coats for children during the holidays. Walmart customers also made an online donation of $2,133, which will be used to help individuals and families in need.
Hanes and The Salvation Army teamed up once again to provide socks to those in need. As part of their annual sock drive, Hanes donated 200,000 pairs of socks to The Salvation Army, bringing the total number of socks donated over the past five years to more than 1.5 million pairs.
Coca-Cola held a #GiveHappiness campaign, encouraging people to share a picture of their families enjoying a meal with Coca-Cola over the holidays. Through the many photos shared during the program, Coca-Cola made a donation to The Salvation Army, bringing its total commitment to $250,000.
Krispy Kreme hosted counter kettles at its corporate shops nationwide, raising over $20,000 for the Red Kettle Campaign. Together with the NCR Corporation, Krispy Kreme also made a $50,000 donation to celebrate the nationwide launch of its new mobile Rewards app. Select Krispy Kreme locations also hosted Angel Tree's.
UPS ran its Wishes Delivered campaign for the second year with The Salvation Army among five charity partners to each receive $30,000. For every wish submitted with the campaign's hashtag, UPS donated $1 and shared stories of the people and organizations who are solving problems to make a difference in communities.
During the holidays, 3.3 million people rely on The Salvation Army to provide their families with a warm meal or toys for children on Christmas Day. In addition to the help provided during the holiday season, donations made to the red kettles help the Army provide more than 10 million nights of shelter, nearly 57 million meals and programming such as substance abuse recovery, after-school programs and emergency shelter for children and families in need year-round. In all, The Salvation Army is able to help nearly 30 million people each year, thanks in large part to people's generous donations.
From its humble beginnings as a program started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. It provides toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year-round. More than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers throughout the country ring bells and solicit donations to the red kettles.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Approximately 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). For more information, go to salvationarmyusa.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.