Online Kettles Draw Massive Response Despite Disasters

The expanded presence of The Salvation Army's virtual red kettles on the internet raked in an outstanding response despite disasters that swamped the nation this past year.

Launched on Nov. 1, 2005, the electronic kettle campaign had an 80 percent increase in online donations made in a period of two full months. The Army took a new stride this year in opening an easier virtual campaign for Americans to host on their websites in addition to large retailers such as Wal-Mart.

In 2004, the event of the devastating South Asia tsunami took in much of the nation's contributions. When factoring out the five days following the Dec. 26 disaster, online donations for 2005 increased by 215 percent, according to Melissa Temme, public relations specialist for The Salvation Army.

Temme noted the concerns that had risen during the holiday season over a possible lack of support for the local community programs as hurricane damages and losses called for continual assistance. However, the boosted monetary funds from the online kettle campaign alone assured communities of committed support.

Donations to The Salvation Army for tsunami relief efforts had been the largest until Katrina rolled around, said Temme. More than $295 million was raised, placing the Army as the second largest receiver of Katrina relief support, behind the American Red Cross.

Monetary figures for the live national kettle campaign will not be available until the end of January.

Both hurricane and local community assistance continue to thrive through the Target/Salvation Army Wish List, which is currently generating a large response for both Katrina victims and needy families across the nation. Temme commented that they were "very pleased" with the response they have been receiving.

Supporters can visit to purchase items to be directed to those in need. The partnered effort will continue until Jan. 25.