Salvation Army loses week of fundraising to Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving coming later than usual this year, many Salvation Army centers across Western Pennsylvania are starting their annual Red Kettle campaigns early in order to meet their fundraising goals.
The Salvation Army’s Western Pennsylvania Division will place the familiar red kettles at Giant Eagle stores starting Monday, spokeswoman Ava Henderson said.
The rest of the kettles will be put out on Black Friday and will stay out through Christmas Eve.
Lt. Alex Senak at the Allegheny Valley Worship and Service Center in Brackenridge said the loss of about six days of fundraising time could cost his center’s campaign between $10,000 and $12,000.
“It’s definitely a big challenge that we had to prepare for this year,” Senak said.
In each of the past three years, the Allegheny Valley center has raised about $130,000 for the Red Kettle Campaign.
This year, adjusting for the lost time, Senak said the goal is to raise $125,000. The center also held a 5K race fundraiser last weekend as a way of “counteracting” the loss.
In New Kensington, Lt. Phillip Davies said the time crunch hasn’t changed the center’s $104,000 goal.
The fundraising goal is $2.4 million for the entire Western Pennsylvania Division and just under $650,000 for Allegheny County by Christmas.
“We were prepared for this, so we started getting out to some of the local stores that we could get to as soon as possible,” Davies said.
Davies said the greater challenges for New Kensington will be the closure of the city’s Kmart and the upcoming closure of the Kmart in Allegheny Township — both regular bell-ringing locations.
Davies said the New Kensington Salvation Army will be ringing at a few more local stores. It also has partnered with several fire departments, including ones in New Kensington, Arnold and Parks Township. The charity also relies on giving events like the annual toy drive, which will take place Saturday, Dec. 14 at Breakaway Bar and Grill.
“I think it’s going to be tough,” Davies said of the New Kensington fundraising goal. “But we’re progressing great to this point.”
Give on your Smartphone
The Salvation Army also is giving people the option to donate by using their smartphone. Smart chips and QR codes will be placed on all Red Kettle signs, allowing shoppers to “bump” or scan their phones to make a digital donation.
Shoppers will be directed to a custom donation page that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay. The funds will then be distributed to local Salvation Army units based on the donor’s billing ZIP code, and an email receipt will be sent directly to their phone.
“With a short Christmas season this year, we are hoping the new Kettle Pay technology and additional volunteer efforts will help us achieve our goal this year,” said Maj. Raphael Jackson, commander of the Western Pennsylvania Division. “The money raised during the holidays pays for programs and services that assist those in need throughout the entire year.“
Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .