EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The holidays are just around the corner, but this year it could look a lot different for families after COVID has impacted more than just health.
That’s why the Salvation Army is kicking off their holiday campaign early this year.
The Salvation Army is calling this operation “Rescue Christmas.” They tell us COVID-19 has tremendously impacted the need for the services they provide.
From help with utilities to providing meals for families, they tell us the need for both of those services has doubled.
The Salvation Army says many families have fallen behind in their bills after losing their jobs and not having to pay utilities and rent for several months, those bills added up.
One of their biggest concerns is the fundraising they do for the holidays. They make a goal annually to raise $300,000, and one of the biggest ways to do this is with their Red Kettle Campaign.
They tell us they usually have 30 different red kettle locations in Evansville alone, and so far, they have only been able to get five locations to allow them to bring their kettles out this year.
They also worry about getting enough volunteers as well as the ongoing coin shortage.
That’s why they are starting this holiday campaign months early this year.
“We can’t double our numbers like this without additional help," said Major Loren Carter, development director. "The Salvation Army expects to see, last year we saw 600 families, we may see 1,200, 1,400, maybe even 1,500 families this year. So we are concerned about that. We would have to have financial help to be able to give that kind of assistance.”
In 2019, the Salvation Army rolled out a digital option for their Red Kettle Campaign and that will still be happening this year. With fewer red kettles than ever and that increase for their services, they hope this will help.
They also tell us their big Toy Town Fundraiser will still be happening, so they can continue to give children toys during the holidays.