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Twin Cities Salvation Army says donations way down as Red Kettle drive struggles

The nonprofit's Red Kettle fundraiser struggled as more shoppers have decided to shop online.

The Twin Cities Salvation Army says it's Christmas fundraising drive is $700,000 down compared to last year, with its Red Kettle campaign struggling as more shoppers stayed at home.

The Roseville-based organization issued a statement reminding people that donations it receives through the end of the month will be matched up to $1 million thanks to "several anonymous donors."

Its customary Christmas Red Kettle campaign has taken a hit this year due to the pandemic. Red Kettle donations are commonly taken outside of grocery and other retail stores, but more people than ever are choosing to have their purchases delivered or picked up curbside.

At the same time, the Salvation Army says it's experienced a massive surge for demand nationwide, again due to the pandemic, with requests for its services rising across the country by 155%.

In the Twin Cities, it says its food distributions have increased by 800%, noting that 40% of families using its food shelves this year have never used one before.

The Salvation Army made a similar plea last year, saying its donations in mid-December were $350,000 down on 2018 due to inclemently cold weather, though this situation this year is considerably worse based on figures up to Dec. 27.

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The organization says it raises 60% of its annual funding during the Christmas period, but this year it has dealt with "fewer kettle locations, a profound decrease in bell-ringing volunteers, and reduced foot traffic at kettle locations."

"This year has challenged us in ways we’ve not seen in our lifetime,” said Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings, commander of The Salvation Army’s Northern Division, serving Minnesota and North Dakota. 

"We’re incredibly grateful this year for the enormous help we’ve received from our donors and volunteers, and with the community’s support, we’re hopeful that by midnight on Thursday we’ll have erased the $700,000 shortfall we’re facing.”

You can find out more about how to donate here SalvationArmyNorth.org.

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