Public Asked to Please Help Rescue Christmas

Dec 14, 2020

Dec. 12—Salvation Army Captain Esau Morales said the need for assistance in the Hazleton area is greater than ever.

"This year, so many more families have been seeking help due to the pandemic," Morales said. "The demand for assistance is so much higher than in previous years."

Unfortunately, one of the organization's biggest fundraisers — its Red Kettle Campaign — is feeling the negative impacts of COVID-19. To date, the Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division has seen a 46% decrease in in-person kettle donations.

"Our kettle campaign has taken a big hit this year. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have had a drop in our volunteers and in the donations that we have collected so far," Morales said.

With less foot traffic, fewer people carrying cash and more people shopping online, the organization is hoping to "Rescue Christmas" and ensure programming continues in 2021. Donations are still being taken at red kettles but the Army announced that it's taking donations at, asking folks to purchase gifts at via Registry for Good and round up purchases when checking out online. Walmart will donate the extra change to The Salvation Army.

"This is what we were concerned about as we developed the Rescue Christmas messaging in the first place," said Lt. Col. Larry Ashcraft, divisional commander of The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division. "We feared the pandemic would have a direct effect on kettle income, which is why we started the fundraising season early for the first time in 130 years. Retail foot traffic was down by 50% on Black Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal, while online sales are surging. We are at a critical moment where the success of our efforts will directly impact our ability to meet the increased needs."

Those who want to donate the traditional way can look for kettles at the Hazle Twp. Walmart or the Gould's ShurSave in Conyngham. Apple pay and Google pay at the kettles allow contactless giving via a cellphone and QR code.

To help their efforts, the Salvation Army gave all bell ringers special CDC training, requiring them to wear masks and gloves and to practice social distancing and sanitize the kettle after every donation.

"We have had to make a lot of changes and come together to continue providing assistance for the community," Morales said. "The funds that we collect in our red kettles at the stores go toward making this happen all year-round. That's why it's so important that the community rally behind us if they are able."

Officials said no amount of change is too little.

"We need the community's help now, more than ever," Ashcraft said. "We don't want to turn anyone away because we don't have the resources to help, and we don't want to cut any programs that give our clients new hope, new opportunities and new life."

"We are truly thankful for those who have donated and we are looking forward to finishing strong," Morales added.

Another way to help is to volunteer during the campaign. For more information, call 570-454-1631.

Contact the writer:; 570-501-3592


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