One of the nation's largest Christian charities announced Wednesday that it broke its Red Kettle record for the sixth straight year by raising $142 million to support people in need.
The Salvation Army raised that amount through traditional red kettles in front of stores and through online donations during its 2010 annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. The 2010 campaign donation amount was about a two percent increase over 2009's record of $139 million.
"We've all witnessed the extreme demands the economic recession has placed on Americans during the past three years," said Commissioner William Roberts, national commander of The Salvation Army.
"This record-breaking year stands as a testament to the generosity of our neighbors, but more importantly it demonstrates the spirit of the One whose birth we celebrated. We are thankful to all those who supported the campaign for enabling The Salvation Army to continue its mission of meeting human needs."
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys hosted the National Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff at the Cowboys Stadium with a live performance by country music star Keith Urban during the televised Thanksgiving Day football game that reached more than 31 million Americans. It was the 14th consecutive year that the Dallas Cowboys hosted the Red Kettle kickoff during its Thanksgiving Day game.
Bell-ringers manned Red Kettles at store fronts and shopping malls at about 25,000 locations nationwide during the 2010 campaign. Red Kettles at Walmart stores and Sam's Club locations raised $35 million and $5 million, respectively, or about 30 percent of the money raised in the 2010 campaign. The Walmart Foundation also made a direct donation of $1 million to The Salvation Army.
Donations raised during the campaign are used to provide food, shelter, rent assistance, summer camps and Christmas assistance to nearly 30 million Americans the charity serves each year.
"We are ever grateful for the charitable support and compassion of all our corporate partners," said Commissioner Roberts. "Through their big-heartedness, along with the generosity of the millions of Americans who gave, The Salvation Army is able to continue their work to help those in need."
Nearly $1.6 million was collected through The Salvation Army's Online Red Kettle. Other online donations in November and December that were not through the Online Red Kettle system raised a total of $13.7 million.
The Red Kettle Campaign is the oldest annual charitable fundraiser of its kind in the United States.