HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Salvation Army has launched it’s Christmas Red Kettle Campaign early this year, asking for online donations right now.
As health concerns remain during the coronavirus pandemic, fewer Red Kettles may be set up in front of stores this holiday season.
“We do know that some of the stores are a little leery about us standing out in front of there, which I can understand," Brian Hicks of Hattiesburg Salvation Army said.
He says that’s why the focus will be online donations.
“So what we have been in the discussion of doing is starting an online Red Kettle, which has been done the last couple of years, but we’re really going to push that this year,” Hicks said. "Basically, all it is, you go online and you hit donate now and you can choose what city or wherever you want it to go to.”
You can donate online to the Mississippi Salvation Army here.
Hicks says the Salvation Army isn’t sure how COVID-19 will affect in-person donations.
“We’re kind of hoping that it doesn’t, but we’re making plans right now just in case it does. We’re really trying to spearhead this now before it’s too late," Hicks said. "And that’s why we’re starting a little bit earlier because we don’t know what the impact is going to be.”
Here in Hattiesburg, the Salvation Army relies on donations to fund its social services department, which is their largest ministry.
“A mom comes in, can’t pay her rent, you know if we got the funding, guess what, we’re gonna help pay their rent," Hicks said. "If they need a food box, we’ll go to the food pantry and fill their food box up with canned goods.”
He adds that when you donate, you’re directly impacting the local community.
“85 cents of every dollar that is donated through the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign stays right here to help the people in the community," Hicks said. “You hear a lot of people talking about, 'Well where does the money go?” That’s where that money goes to.”
Hicks says the Salvation Army needs community support right now to be able to continue serving the area.
“The Red Kettle campaign is our biggest fundraiser for the year," Hicks said. “Without us being able to bring in that funding, it’s really going to affect the way that we are able to serve the people of the community.”