Salvation Army starts red kettle holiday fundraising early, hoping to 'rescue Christmas'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The red kettles and bells may seem out of place in September, but this year the Salvation Army has started their holiday fundraising early due to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their "Rescue Christmas" fundraising campaign began Monday.

"In the history of the Salvation Army, this is the first time we are starting early," said Capt. Tomas Valladares, Salvation Army.

Bell-ringers are typically seen closer to the holidays and the cold winter season, part of the holiday season sounds on bustling Chicago streets.

The organization offers food, shelter and support year-round, and wants to be there for the increasing number of families who need help this year.

"With the help of everyone, we have hope that we can help all those families, that's why we are out here so early," Valladares said.

The Salvation Army and many other non-profits anticipate charitable contributions to be down this holiday season, especially due to the economic consequences of the pandemic. But those same conditions - widespread layoff, furloughs and unemployment due to COVID-19 - mean the need for help is greater as well.

The Rescue Christmas campaign is also going virtual in hopes those who can will donate online.
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