Rescue Christmas

Oct 1, 2020

The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division Sets Out to “Rescue Christmas” Due to Impact of COVID-19

 The nation’s largest social-services organization launches iconic holiday fundraising campaign earlier than ever to meet increasing need

PHILADELPHIA (September 30, 2020) – For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early in order to Rescue Christmas. 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%  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.

Due to the closing of some retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic where red kettles are typically placed, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the kettles, which would limit the Army's capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles, with the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware division raising over $3.3 million.

“There is no doubt the need is great this year,” said Lt. Col. Larry Ashcraft, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware. “We have seen unprecedented need for our basic services since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. With so many people still out of work, we know the holidays will be especially challenging for many. That’s why we’re determined to stay on the frontlines and do our part, with community support, to Rescue Christmas for those who come to us for assistance. We need everyone who can do so to come alongside us to make the holidays a little brighter for those who’ve fallen on tough times.”

Since March, The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division has provided more than 7.7 million meals, emotional and spiritual support to over 21,600 people in need, and safe shelter for those who had nowhere to go.

"At the height of COVID-19, The Salvation Army partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help feed millions of Pennsylvanians,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “With more people facing unprecedented hardship this year, the need to provide life-changing aid is greater than ever. It is my sincere hope that working Pennsylvanians and those who aren’t hurting financially will give what they can to The Salvation Army to help ensure that no one goes without assistance during the holidays.”

“Getting an early start with our kettle season this year is crucial to our ability to continue to serve those most in need in our region,” admits Lt. Col. Ashcraft. “Every dollar is critical. While you may not see our red kettles out and about until early November, we’ve made it safer and easier to donate now by doing it digitally. We are hopeful that starting early will help us make up for any losses at the kettles and ensure that we can continue providing the services we offer those in need.”

How to help:

  • Enlist in Love’s Army by giving what you can online safely and easily HERE.

  • Consider making a monthly contribution.

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

  • Give any amount by texting KETTLE to 41444.

  • Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in PA or DE.

  • Donate physical gifts in bulk to The Salvation Army location closest to you. To find your nearest location, click HERE.

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


To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols. Face masks will be worn, and kettle equipment will be cleaned daily prior to use. Red kettle signs are also enabled with Apple Pay and Google Pay technology, enabling contactless donations.

Every donation online or at the kettles provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. To donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army Rescue Christmas this year click HERE. If you need services or know of someone in need, visit HERE to find a location near you.

The Salvation Army is committed to offering hope and help throughout the upcoming holiday season as we work to Rescue Christmas for our neighbors in need.

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