Salvation Army Gives Despite Donation Drop

While many Salvation Army chapters have reported that low donations may not meet their Red Kettle drive goals before campaign’s Christmas Eve deadline today, they will keep to their tradition of spreading God’s love by emptying what they do have.

Many locations holding toy drives have already given away the toys to needy children, who were adopted from the group’s Angel Tree program.

In Indianapolis, the ministry opened its doors at the state fairgrounds on Tuesday so that nearly 600 families could shop for gifts for their children, reported WISH-TV.

Other places such as the Army in Danville, Va., handed out the toys from its building. Salvation Army Capt. Jeff Miracle told Danville’s Register and Bee that 1,000 families - including about 1,500 children - in Danville and Pittsylvania County will get presents in “one of the biggest and best toy drives that we have ever had.”

Major Kathy Whittaker of Post Arthur’s Salvation Army in Texas reported to Post Arthur News that they received such an overwhelming response this year that 450 families were provided food and toys and every child signed up with the Army received 3 gifts each.

But toy donations in some areas were short. The Toy `N' Joy program of the Army in Washington’s King County was more than 1,000 toys short Wednesday for kids ages 10 to 17 even though the group had spent $2,200 of its own operating funds to meet its goal to provide toys to 28,000 children, according to spokesperson Aimee reported the King County Journal.

In addition to filling the stockings and putting presents under the tree, the Salvation Army’s nationwide are also putting Christmas dinners on the table, whether through hosting their own Christmas dinners for the needy in their communities or giving away Christmas care packages to low-income families so they could enjoy a warm holiday meal at home. Some packages will even include turkeys or hams and enough food to feed a whole family.

One of the Salvation Army units in San Francisco will be sending out a group to distribute blankets to the homeless on Christmas Eve as part of its “Hope, Soup, and Soul” program, spokesperson Jennifer Bird told the Christian Post.

Meanwhile, bell ringers all over the country will continue what first started in San Francisco in 1891 when the first red kettle was set up. They will stand in front of retail stores and other designated locations and collect donations which will go toward local Salvation Army efforts for the Christmas season and throughout the year.

Some ringers have even reported generous donations of pure gold coins, which have mysteriously appeared in kettles around nation.

This year, the kettles were no longer welcomed in front of Target stores, a change which has led officials to project a $9 million loss in potential donations. Last year, the ministry collected $93 million in its holiday appeal.

But some things never change.

“The mission of the Salvation Army is to serve suffering humanity,” Bird told the Christian Post. “No matter how much resources and money we have, the Salvation Army always serves the people that comes to its doors.”

Speaking on behalf of the Army’s officers, Bird said, “It’s their mission to share the love of Christ and share God’s promise especially this time of year when they are reminding people this is a wonderful time of year when Christ was born.”

She added that the Army was resourceful, efficient, and effective, and “always find a way to make ends meet.”