Editorial: Let’s Rise to the COVID Challenge to Give

Dec 9, 2020

You’d be hard pressed to find any effort or enterprise that COVID-19 hasn’t sunk its toxic teeth into, including charitable giving.

Take the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign as a case-in-point. Due to a fear of COVID contagion, fewer volunteers are ringing the bell. That means fewer donations and a greater likelihood that local campaigns won’t meet their campaign targets, including a local goal of raising $75,000.

The specter of cuts to vital services, such as food distribution, utility assistance, and senior programs challenges us all to do better and be better.

In years past, ubiquitous bell-ringers gave shoppers a chance to scratch their charitable itch almost any time the season’s spirit moved them.

This year, however, volunteer bell-ringers in Sharon have dropped from more than 100 to roughly 35. Fewer shoppers are out, too, as people heed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control to stay home whenever possible. Nationwide, the Salvation Army expects to raise roughly $60 million — half of what it usually raises.

A global pandemic, however, doesn’t erase our responsibilities to assist community members in need. In fact, their needs are up, due to an economy plagued by business shut-downs and slow-downs. Locally, Salvation Army food distribution programs are helping hundreds of families.

To help meeting growing needs, the Salvation Army is using technology to expand donations. Locally, one option is to call 414-44 with a smart phone and type “Sharon” into the text. That will bring up a secure link for donating with a credit card or ApplePay.

If you spot a red kettle but worry about social distancing, the Salvation Army sign now includes chips that smart phones can access to bring up a secure link for donations. Or you can donate online at give.salvationarmyusa.org, using Pay Pal, a bank transfer, or credit card.

Giving through a text message lacks the psychological perks that come from a bell ringer’s warm thanks, or a pat on the back from a shopping companion. Recognition and affirmation are part of what makes giving feel good, whether it’s dropping two quarters in a kettle or writing a check for $10 million to build a university library in the donor’s name.

But if we give for the right reasons, an anonymous donation should feel as good as a more intimate one. Knowing you’re helping someone in need should be reward and recognition enough. And this year, your local donation will double. An anonymous donor has committed to matching, dollar for dollar, the money raised in Kettle campaigns conducted in dozens of locations throughout Western Pennsylvania.

We can’t eliminate the pandemic in time for the holidays, but we can choose how to respond to it. Giving generously to the Salvation Army, whether in person or anonymously, will make you and your community stronger.


Original Source: The Herald

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