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This holiday season, The Salvation Army expects to see a greater need for our services – more than any in recent history.
Unemployment rates are expected to be 10%-11%, and based on the increased service we’ve already provided this year due to COVID-19, we need resources to serve up to 155% more people with Christmas assistance.
COVID-19 has not only created a bigger need for us to fill, it has also decreased the number of traditional red kettles you’re used to seeing on street corners and at store entrances each Christmas season. In fact, we could see up to a 50% decrease in red kettle funds this year due to several factors, including:
Our work this holiday season is going to be even more crucial to serve the most vulnerable – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender orientation – in your community.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are like those we experienced after disasters like hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Harvey. Only this time, the losses are across the entire country and will be longer lasting. And as with any disaster, we are there, on the ground, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual support. The Salvation Army serves those in need 365 days a year through homeless shelters, traditional housing, permanent supportive housing, and re-entry resources.
According to recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, “26 million adults – 10.8% of all adults in the country – reported that their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat in the past seven days” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve already seen it. Grocery delivery is the most requested service The Salvation Army has been providing during the pandemic. Our food pantries and meal programs will be stretched to capacity to fulfill the need this holiday season, so we’ll need your generosity to make sure no one goes unfed.
Economic pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic will force millions of parents to choose between paying rent/utilities and buying Christmas presents. In fact, we expect an additional 1.6 million more people will seek our help to make Christmas brighter this year. In a typical year, we put new clothes and toys under the tree for 1 million children who usually must go without Christmas gifts. Anonymous donors adopt these little “angels” in an expanding Christmas tradition that makes the season more rewarding for the gift giver and happier for the receiver. This year, please consider taking a few more angels off the tree or donating gifts in bulk.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on families who were already struggling to pay the bills. In fact, about 12 million families missed mortgage or rent payments in March. Of those, 7.8 million families are also struggling to provide meals, an increase of 1.8 million families since before the pandemic. The devastation is along the lines of the 2008 recession, with 8 million families in danger of missing their mortgage payments or rent.
The Salvation Army helps struggling households pay their utility bills, offsetting the added financial burdens that come with Christmas-season expenses. This allows low-income families to maintain self-dignity and stability while keeping up with their bills and keeping the heat on during those cold winter months.
Help us give hope to those in need who feel forgotten.
After a challenging time in her life, the kind many are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal checked into The Salvation Army’s family shelter at the Community of Hope in Lakeland, Florida. Her primary goal was to build a stable home for herself and her three children, especially after her recent eviction.
Crystal enrolled in the Pathway of Hope program and quickly secured a job at a local restaurant. She was able to open a bank account to save money in order to transition out of the shelter and into stable, secure housing.
“I think Crystal’s story is really a perfect reminder that, through Pathway of Hope, we can really break the cycle of poverty for people who have faced hardships for large portions of their life,” said a Salvation Army social services program coordinator. “I think she’s a shining example of someone who really wanted to put in the work, and we were able to come alongside her in the journey.”
Crystal remains active in the Pathway of Hope initiative and plans to pursue her GED as well as secure a driver’s license. Her journey continues with an eye toward a better future, and her story stands as an illustration of what hard work and persistence can bring.
Chelsey, a single mother of two children (one disabled) and U.S. Navy Veteran from Minnesota, has never needed help from The Salvation Army until the COVID-19 pandemic began. During the past two months, Chelsey has received groceries from The Salvation Army a half dozen times. She’s among the growing number of people who are first-time visitors to Salvation Army food pantries.
Recently, she was able to return to work part-time. Although Chelsey will not need to rely on food assistance for much longer, she is happy to know that The Salvation Army and our supporters will always be here to help.
Alicia, a full-time candy store employee and mother of four from York, Pennsylvania, had her hours cut drastically when COVID-19 struck the U.S., and she fell $2,000 behind on her rent. With no other options left, Alicia turned to The Salvation Army. Alicia received $1,000 to help with rent, and she was able to pay the other $1,000. The Salvation Army also helped her with food assistance to help further ease the financial burden.
“This helped me out a lot,” Alicia said. “Without The Salvation Army, I don’t think we would be able to continue to stay in this house that we’re in now. Anyone looking for help – The Salvation Army is your best bet. They work with you, and when they say they’re willing to help you, they follow up, step by step.”
Alicia is now back to work full-time and is continuing to work with The Salvation Army to earn her GED and high school diploma.
Mindy Reyes, a single mom of four kids, is still alive today thanks to a phone call from The Salvation Army. Mindy learned that she had contracted COVID-19 in late May. After her ex-husband refused to take care of her four young children, they all contracted the virus.
“The first three days I didn’t tell anybody,” Mindy said. “I didn’t have any family in the area and was scared. As I got sicker, I called The Salvation Army. I couldn’t handle it. Everybody was sick and we were running out of food.”
The Salvation Army was able to bring the family food, but as time went on, Mindy’s health continued to worsen. A Salvation Army officer called her home a while later and after hearing the condition Mindy was in, called an ambulance which took her to the hospital just in time, saving her life.