Red Kettle campaign issues call for help

DOVER — The kettle is only half-full for those involved with The Salvation Army Delaware’s Red Kettle fundraising campaign this holiday season — and that’s not an optimistic view or a good thing.

With just nine days remaining until Christmas, The Salvation Army Delaware announced that donations to its annual Red Kettle campaign are down throughout the state, presently at 50 percent of its overall goal of raising $500,000 for its shelters and programs this holiday season.

Unfortunately, for The Salvation Army’s corps of bell ringers, this year’s calendar is proving problematic. The late Thanksgiving holiday means that there is nearly a full week of activity unavailable to the campaign in 2019.

Last year’s Red Kettle campaign raised nearly $450,000 in donations in Delaware.

Captain Timothy Sheehan, state coordinator for Salvation Army Delaware, issued a plea for citizens to lend a helping and caring hand when entering businesses where volunteers are ringing bells and seeking donations.

“The people whom we serve in Wilmington and throughout Delaware face challenges every day due to poverty, homelessness, loneliness and food shortages,” Captain Sheehan said. “We strive to meet these needs with love, grace, and hope, but we need your help.

“We cannot fulfill our obligations to the community without reaching our financial goals. All Red Kettle donations stay in Delaware, and in the county, they are raised in. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are providing hope to your neighbors in need.”

Captain Sheehan said the money that is raised is not just used for the holidays, it is spread to assist numerous programs throughout the year, including emergency shelter, child care, senior centers, providing meals every day to the underprivileged, and offering activities to children, such as music, exercise, gym and basketball.

Donating to a Salvation Army red kettle around Christmas time has become an American tradition since it began on a pier in San Francisco 128 years ago.

“We rely on the Red Kettle campaign to help fund our many social services, which provide a lifeline to individuals and families struggling to make ends meet,” said Lt. Colonel Larry Ashcraft, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. “Every gift helps The Salvation Army provide hope and consolation to the neediest among us.”

Volunteers are ringing bells for donations in front of 19 stores around Kent County, from Smyrna to Dover to Milford, every day except Sunday until Dec. 23.

Sharon Young, a representative for The Salvation Army in Kent County, is hoping shoppers can dig just a little bit deeper over the coming week.

“I believe the people in Kent County are giving and they’re really going to help us out this year,” Mrs. Young said. “I believe there’s going to be a good spirit of giving. The ringing of the bells gives you that holiday feeling and it makes you want to help people. When you hear those bells, you feel a desire to help because you know that’s what it means — it means somebody is going to get blessed.”

This year, the Red Kettle Campaign has even met head-on with modern technology, as each kettle manned by Salvation Army volunteers features Apple and Google Pay technology that allows people to also donate via their smartphones.

Captain Sheehan is hoping for a late rally in donations.

“This great community has always been generous,” he said. “On behalf of all who depend on the Army at this time of year, I urge your support and thank you for your kindness.”

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