Pandemic poverty is far from over but … Hope Marches On

As more and more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, it seems like the end is finally in sight. That makes it even easier to forget that for millions of Americans, the crisis is far from over.

But hope marches on.

Many of your neighbors are struggling every day to make ends meet. People in your community don’t know how they are going to keep the car running and the heat and electricity on. In fact, 7.1 million Americans are behind on the rent, and 63% of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

But hope marches on.

Food insecurity continues to be a source of pain for a large portion of the population. Families without access to nutritious meals are going hungry every day. Today, 20 million Americans don’t have enough food to eat.

But hope marches on.

Today we need hope more than ever, if only to keep others from losing it. A life without hope is the breeding ground for all kinds of physical and spiritual diseases, including alcoholism and drug addiction. And if we’ve learned from the record number of people who overdosed in 2020, it’s that hope is in short supply for a lot of people in our communities.

But hope marches on.

What started in 1891 as one pot to collect funds to feed a free Christmas dinner to San Francisco’s destitute and poverty-stricken community has grown into The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign, one of the most impactful and iconic outreach initiatives in the world, year after year after year. To the homeless, the red kettles represent safe shelter from the streets. To the hungry, they promise a warm meal. To those struggling with addiction and alcoholism, they mean the possibility of a new life free of the bondage of chemicals.

And for everyone, the red kettles represent hope.

Our work this holiday season is going to be even more crucial to serve the most vulnerable — regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender orientation — in your community.

Please join our effort to keep hope marching on.

Find help this holiday season

We’re serving people who have been impacted by COVID-19 all around the country.

If you or a loved one needs help, please contact your local Salvation Army to see what services are available in your area.

 

Christmas Events

 
December 3
The National Commander's Red Kettle Challenge

Commissioner Hodder is challenging others to raise more funds than him in a four-hour shift.

Visit Event Page >>
 
November 30
Giving Tuesday

This Giving Tuesday, you can brighten the Christmas season for many.

It's not too late to give >>
 
November 25
Luke Combs To Perform Live at Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Game Halftime Show

Luke Combs performed during the nationally televised halftime show of the Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day, marking 25 years of a Cowboys and Salvation Army tradition to rally support of the iconic Red Kettle Campaign.

Learn More >>

Help Us Rescue Christmas For Families In Need

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Here’s how your Christmas giving lifts your entire community

  • The Salvation Army in Alabama anticipates to provide around 350,000  meals this season and over 75,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, serving meals, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Alaska offers assistance through the Angel Tree program and Toys for Tots. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell, serve meals, be a personal shopper, adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, or participate financially in the Twitch Gaming Fundraiser or Christmas Open House. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Arkansas offers assistance through the Angel Tree program. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program.  Sign up to volunteer to ring a bell during the Christmas season at https://registertoring.com.
  • The Salvation Army Del Oro Division anticipates to provide around 88,500 meals and 155,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Opportunities to serve in your community include adopting angels through myangeltree.org, financially supporting the work of The Salvation army through a virtual donation at VirtualRedkettle.org, or sign up to be a volunteer at Volunteer.USAWest.org and ask about how to participate in a mega distribution event at Cal Expo. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Connecticut anticipates to provide 3,900 meals and over 8,000 gifts to families in need.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by hosting a food drive, sorting coat for Coats for CT,  volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program.  Additionally, you can serve as a committee member for the Meriden, CT Christmas. 
  • The Salvation Army in Florida anticipates to provide around 12,000  meals this season and over 90,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, serving meals, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • The Salvation Army in Georgia anticipates to provide more than100,000 meals this season (10% increase from 2020) and over 21,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, in-person or virtually. Many locations across the State will be looking for volunteers to serve meals, sort toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Illinois anticipates to provide over 8,900 meals or foodboxes (15% increase over 2020) and over 22,700 gifts (12% increase over 2020) to families in need.  
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells (registertoring.com), preparing/serving community meals, packing holiday food baskets/boxes, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families. Additional opportunities to serve vary by location. In Metro Chicago, you can set up an online Red Kettle Fundraiser. In middle Illinois, work with your local Salvation Army to organize or staff a toy/food drive.
  • Contact your local Salvation Army for information regarding assistance with Angel Tree, holiday food boxes, coat distribution, community meals and church services. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Indiana anticipates to provide around  10,000 meals or food boxes and over 80,000 gifts to families in need.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by participating in coat distribution, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, helping to pack food boxes for families in need, and organizing / distributing Christmas gifts and food boxes. 
  • The Salvation Army in Iowa anticipates to provide approximately 8,000  meals this season gifts to around 4,000 families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, preparing/serving community meals, packing holiday food baskets/boxes, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Kansas anticipates to provide over 6,000 meals or food boxes and over 80,000 gifts to families in need.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by participating in an adopt-a-family telethon,  food and coat drives, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, helping to pack food boxes for families in need, and organizing / distributing Christmas gifts and food boxes. 
  • The Salvation Army in Kentucky anticipates to provide more than 4,500 meals this season (18% increase from 2020) and over 34,000 gifts (13% increase from 2020) to families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include various stages of our Angel Tree program:  applications, angel adoption, donation collection, sorting, and distribution or volunteering to ring the bell at our iconic red kettles. Whether as part of a group like a church or service club, as a family, or making a personal commitment to others, volunteering at one of our kettles can be a great tradition!  
  • The Salvation Army in Louisiana anticipates to provide more than 275,000  meals this season and over 48,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, serving meals, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • The Salvation Army in Maine anticipates to provide around 3,300 meals and around 9,700 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell sorting and packaging donated toys for distribution, and delivering meals to shut ins. Contact your local Salvation Army for information about meals, toys and clothing, and the annual food and fund drives.  
  • The Salvation Army Massachusetts has provided 12 million meals to those in need since March.
  • The Salvation Army in Michigan anticipates to provide approximately 22,300  meals and around 90,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Volunteer in your community by helping with food and coat drives, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program (virtual & in-store), packing food boxes for families in need, and organizing / distributing Christmas gifts and food boxes. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Minnesota anticipates to provide over 1,100,000 meals or food boxes and serve over 7,000 families (18,000 kids) with the toy distribution program this year (75% increase from 2020). Many traditional Salvation Army programming has been restarted after taking a hiatus throughout the pandemic. Some of those services include self-serve food pantry shopping, prepared food feeding programs, Bible studies, after school activities, music and sports activities, and other assorted adult and youth programs.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by participating with the distribution Coats for Kids, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, helping to pack food boxes for families in need, and assisting with the Toy Shop distribution. Contact your local Salvation Army for specific ways you can get involved in your area this season.
  • The Salvation Army in Mississippi anticipates to provide more than 250,000  meals this season and over 50,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, serving meals, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Missouri anticipates to provide around  13,000 meals or food boxes and over 90,000 gifts to families in need. T
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, helping to pack/deliver food boxes for families in need, and organizing / volunteer at a toy and/or food drive. 
  • The Salvation Army in Nebraska anticipates to provide approximately 7,000  meals this season gifts to around 6,000 families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, preparing/serving community meals, packing holiday food baskets/boxes, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families. Volunteers can also help prepare and deliver meals to those experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness via the Winter night Watch programs in Lincoln and Omaha. 
  • The Salvation Army Del Oro Division anticipates to provide around 88,500 meals and 155,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Opportunities to serve in your community include adopting angels through myangeltree.org, financially supporting the work of The Salvation army through a virtual donation at VirtualRedkettle.org, or sign up to be a volunteer at Volunteer.USAWest.org.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of New Hampshire anticipates to provide 2,300 meals and around 9,400 gifts to families in need. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell sorting and packaging donated toys for distribution, and delivering meals to shut in. Contact your local Salvation Army for information about Christmas meals, warm coats, toys, and fuel assistance. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of New Jersey offers assistance through the Angel Tree program, Christmas meals, congregation dinners and concerts. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, donating food, toys and gift cards for families in need.   
  • The Salvation Army in the Empire Division anticipates to provide around 650,000 meals and over 130,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include volunteering to ring the bell at our iconic red kettles. Whether as part of a group like a church or service club, as a family, or making a personal commitment to others, volunteering at one of our kettles can be a great tradition!  
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of North Dakota anticipates to provide over 300,000 meals or food boxes and serve between 500 and 1,000 families with the toy distribution program this year. Many traditional Salvation Army programming has been restarted after taking a hiatus throughout the pandemic. Some of those services include self-serve food pantry shopping, prepared food feeding programs, Bible studies, after school activities, music and sports activities, and other assorted adult and youth programs.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by participating with the distribution Coats for Kids, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program, helping to pack food boxes for families in need, and assisting with the Toy Shop distribution. Contact your local Salvation Army for specific ways you can get involved in your area this season.
  • The Salvation Army in Ohio pates to provide more than 41,600 meals this season (28% increase from 2020) and over 41,500 gifts (34% increase from 2020) to families in need this holiday season. In Northeast and Northwest Ohio, a range of Christmas programming including but not limited to Hot Meals, Food Boxes, Warming Centers, Angel Tree, Adopt A Family, Christmas Distributions of Toys, and Church Services/Times of Worship is offered to the community.
  • Volunteer opportunities such as ringing the bell at the iconic red kettles, hosting toy drives, assisting with toy distributions at Corps Community Centers, serving hot meals, and packing food boxes are all ways to get involved throughout the Christmas season. 
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Oklahoma offers assistance through the Angel Tree program. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program.  Sign up to volunteer to ring a bell during the Christmas season at https://registertoring.com.
  • The Salvation Army in the state of Oregon anticipates to provide over 3,000 meals and 130,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season.
  • Opportunities to serve alongside The Salvation Army during the season include volunteering to be a bell ringer at a kettle or providing toys and gifts to a child through the Angel Tree program .
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division anticipates to provide 332,000 meals and around 100,000 gifts to families in need.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by becoming a volunteer bell ringer during the Red Kettle Campaign, serving meals to individuals and families in need, donating toys for The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, and more.
  • During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army in the state of Rhode Island anticipates to provide 8,700 meals and around 5,400 gifts (30% increase from 2020) to families in need.
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community by hosting a toy/food drive, volunteering to ring the bell or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program. 
  • The Salvation Army in South Dakota anticipates to provide approximately 6,000  meals this season gifts to around 4,000 families in need this holiday season.
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, preparing/serving community meals, packing holiday food baskets/boxes, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families.
  • The Salvation Army in Tennessee anticipates to provide more than 4,800 meals this season (5% increase from 2020) and over 40,000 gifts (7% increase from 2020) to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include various stages of our Angel Tree program:  applications, angel adoption, donation collection, sorting, and distribution or volunteering to ring the bell at our iconic red kettles. Whether as part of a group like a church or service club, as a family, or making a personal commitment to others, volunteering at one of our kettles can be a great tradition!  
  • The Salvation Army in Texas anticipates to provide around 105,000  meals this season and over 84,000 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Community volunteer opportunities include ringing bells, serving meals, sorting toys and clothes for Angel Tree recipients as well as Angel Tree Distribution to families. Additional localized events may include motorcycle toy runs, brass band caroling and special events. 
  • The Salvation Army in Vermont anticipates to provide around 1,200 meals and around 3,500 gifts to families in need this holiday season. 
  • The Salvation Army offers opportunities to serve your community through volunteering to ring the bell sorting and packaging donated toys for distribution, and delivering meals to shut ins. Contact your local Salvation Army for information about meals, toys and clothing, and the annual food and fund drives.  
  • The Salvation Army in Wisconsin anticipates to provide approximately 10,000  meals and around 25,000 gifts (15% increase from 2020) to families in need this holiday season. 
  • Volunteer in your community by helping with food and coat drives/distribution, Red Kettle bellringing or adopt a family from the Angel Tree program (virtual & in-store), or participate as support staff in special events. Additional options vary by location. Contact your local Salvation Army for specific ways to get involved in your area. 
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Here are a few things your giving supports

Homeless shelters

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are like those we experienced after disasters like hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Harvey. Only this time, the losses are across the entire country and, as we’ve already seen, will be longer-lasting. And as with any disaster, we are there, on the ground, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual support. The Salvation Army serves those in need 365 days a year through homeless shelters, traditional housing, permanent supportive housing, and reentry resources.

Rental assistance

Pandemic poverty has caused a domino effect in many lives. Between increasing food insecurity, bigger utility burdens, and heightened housing instability, people are making some difficult and often impossible choices just to survive. In fact, more than 7 million Americans are behind on rent due to the COVID pandemic, according to the recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. To help folks from going homeless, The Salvation Army has provided more than $112 million in funds for rent and mortgage over an 18-month period.

Angel Tree Program

Economic pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic will force millions of parents to choose between paying rent/utilities and buying Christmas presents. In a typical year, we put new clothes and toys under the tree for 1 million children who usually must go without Christmas gifts. Anonymous donors adopt these little “angels” in an expanding Christmas tradition that makes the season more rewarding for the gift giver and happier for the receiver. This year, please consider taking a few more angels off the tree or donating gifts in bulk.

Bill-pay assistance

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on families who were already struggling to pay the bills. The devastation is along the lines of the 2008 recession, with several million families in danger of missing their mortgage payments or rent.

The Salvation Army helps struggling households pay their utility bills, offsetting the added financial burdens that come with Christmas-season expenses. This allows low-income families to maintain self-dignity and stability while keeping up with their bills and keeping the heat on during those cold winter months.

To date, we have provided more than $100 million in utility and rent assistance since October 2020, and we estimate we’ll need $175 million (almost 50% more than was raised through the Red Kettles in 2020) to provide adequate support to help Americans stay in their homes this holiday season.

 

 Serving All Without Discrimination

In providing its programs and services to the needy and underserved during the holidays, The Salvation Army is committed to accommodating all those in need without unlawful discrimination or harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other characteristic in accordance with our capacity to help.

This Christmas, help us make a difference


Help us give hope to those in need who feel forgotten.

 

Christmas stories of people we serve

Back in Control

After a challenging time in her life, the kind many are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal checked into The Salvation Army’s family shelter at the Community of Hope in Lakeland, Florida. Her primary goal was to build a stable home for herself and her three children, especially after her recent eviction. 

Crystal enrolled in the Pathway of Hope program and quickly secured a job at a local restaurant. She was able to open a bank account to save money in order to transition out of the shelter and into stable, secure housing.

“I think Crystal’s story is really a perfect reminder that, through Pathway of Hope, we can really break the cycle of poverty for people who have faced hardships for large portions of their life,” said a Salvation Army social services program coordinator. “I think she’s a shining example of someone who really wanted to put in the work, and we were able to come alongside her in the journey.”

Crystal remains active in the Pathway of Hope initiative and plans to pursue her GED as well as secure a driver’s license. Her journey continues with an eye toward a better future, and her story stands as an illustration of what hard work and persistence can bring.

First-Time Need

Chelsey, a single mother of two children (one disabled) and U.S. Navy Veteran from Minnesota, has never needed help from The Salvation Army until the COVID-19 pandemic began. Chelsey has received groceries from The Salvation Army a half dozen times. She’s among the growing number of people who are first-time visitors to Salvation Army food pantries. 

Recently, she was able to return to work part-time. Although Chelsey will not need to rely on food assistance for much longer, she is happy to know that The Salvation Army and our supporters will always be here to help. 

Sweet Relief

Alicia, a full-time candy store employee and mother of four from York, Pennsylvania, had her hours cut drastically when COVID-19 struck the U.S., and she fell $2,000 behind on her rent. With no other options left, Alicia turned to The Salvation Army. Alicia received $1,000 to help with rent, and she was able to pay the other $1,000. The Salvation Army also helped her with food assistance to help further ease the financial burden.  

“This helped me out a lot,” Alicia said. “Without The Salvation Army, I don’t think we would be able to continue to stay in this house that we’re in now. Anyone looking for help – The Salvation Army is your best bet. They work with you, and when they say they’re willing to help you, they follow up, step by step.” 

Alicia is now back to work full-time and is continuing to work with The Salvation Army to earn her GED and high school diploma. 

Life-Saving Help

Mindy Reyes, a single mom of four kids, is still alive today thanks to a phone call from The Salvation Army. 

“The first three days I didn’t tell anybody,” Mindy said. “I didn’t have any family in the area and was scared. As I got sicker, I called The Salvation Army. I couldn’t handle it. Everybody was sick and we were running out of food.” 

The Salvation Army was able to bring the family food, but as time went on, Mindy’s health continued to worsen. A Salvation Army officer called her home a while later and after hearing the condition Mindy was in, called an ambulance which took her to the hospital just in time, saving her life. 

 Thank you to our partners

The Salvation Army is proud to partner with the following organizations who support our mission to meet human need during this holiday season.

 

Bass Pro Shops
BigLots
Bloomingdales
Boscovs
Dallas Cowboys
Dillards
Food Lion
Hobby Lobby
JCPenney
Kroger
Macerich
Macys
Mardel
PriceCutter
Rural King
Sams Club
Walgreens
Walmart

PR contacts

National media relations are handled by The Salvation Army National Headquarters in Alexandria, VA, and its public relations consultant, Richards Partners.

All local media are asked to first contact their local Salvation Army representative for all inquiries, including spokesperson requests.

Territorial Press Contacts Local Contacts

For media queries, please contact:

Joseph Cohen
The Salvation Army
703-299-5551
[email protected]

 

Interested in a national corporate partnership?

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For other inquiries, contact your local Salvation Army:

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