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By Dominique Moody • Published October 13, 2020 • Updated on October 13, 2020 at 7:38 pm
Lots of charitable groups are changing the way that you can give ahead of the holiday season.
In 2019, the Salvation Army rolled out a new contactless way to collect donations from the public. The group introduced a QR code option on the posters of the collection buckets outside many stores during the holiday season.
"We're being forced to move ahead because of COVID and I think it's timely," said Major Gregory Hartshorn, divisional commander of the Salvation Army of Connecticut. "The code will take you to our donation page where people can give the amount they want to give once they get on the landing page."
The campaign giving season for the Salvation Army has already started with their latest initiative entitled Rescue Christmas.
"The number of needs are going to be vastly superior than they've seen ever been, probably 25-50% higher," said Hartshorn. "In order to accomplish meeting those needs, we need to raise the funds obviously and COVID has put some challenges to that as well."
The Salvation Army said that bell ringers will be set up at JcPenny's, Macy's and Hobby Lobbys around the state. The group is waiting to hear back from other organizations which will allow them to set up shop outside their store. Bell ringers will be equipped with PPE.
"They'll have gloves and masks and whenever someone is making a donation outside of a store, they'll be 6 feet away from the donation bucket," said Hartshorn. "We're also working to get Lysol to spray the dropbox after each donation."
The group is also encouraging donors to give virtually. This year, the organization is rolling out a new initiative called Virtual Angels.
"This method will allow donors to go to our website and find a location where they want to give to a Salvation Army near them and select a boy or girl," said Hartshorn. "Donors can find the type of toy or gift or article of clothing shipped right to the salvation army."
If you would like to make a donation to the Salvation Army, click here.
The Marine Corp is also ramping up for their annual Toys for Tots campaign.
"Any support is welcomed and we appreciate everybody that contributes," said Major Derek Shivers of the United States Marine Corp. "We are taking donations, taking requests for events, non-profit organizations and we've seen a pretty good response."
The pandemic has forced organizers with the yearly initiative to start reaching out to vendors a little earlier to ensure that children and families are able to receive what they need.
Like the Salvation Army, the Marine Corp is also following guidelines to ensure that people can safely donate.
"Volunteers will wear masks gloves at all of our donation drop-offs," said Shivers. "All donations will sit in place for 72 hours before their handled and then obviously we're sanitizing."
If you would like more details about where to drop off donations or if you would like to make a donation to the Toys for Tots initiative, you can click here.
The last day to drop of donations in Hartford and Litchfield County is December 14.
Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection is issuing an alert before the giving season and the holidays especially with many non-profits and organizations now recommending virtual donations.
"We are asking the public to take your time to do your research to know where it's going and to make sure that it's getting to the right place," said Arunan Arulampalam, Deputy Commissioner with the state's D.C.P. "If somebody is soliciting you for a contribution, they should be registered with the state."