Charities gearing up for the holidays

Courtesy of The Daily Herald

“From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable outreach efforts in the United States,” Winspire said. This charity assists nonprofits and so far they managed to raise millions of dollars, and they continue to help people every day despite the unique situation in 2020.

Hannah Gresham, Reporter

For those who find giving presents more rewarding than receiving them, this year should bring inspiration to give as much as possible to the less fortunate. Small acts can monumentally impact others and after such a traumatic year all contributions matter. Charities, which already help people in need during the holidays, requested extra participation due to decreased funds this year. The coronavirus pandemic deeply affected people’s everyday lives, and sadly that may mean the lack of basic necessities and a change in a holiday ordinarily filled with gifts. 

A charity known as The Salvation Army stems from the universal Christian Church and the founders base their message on the Bible. This international movement strives to provide basic needs to people all around the world. This coming holiday they prepared for the suspected increased need for their services. 

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,” The Salvation Army stated. 

The Red Kettle Campaign, one of the oldest charitable fundraisers around, provides toys, coats, food, and more. The Salvation Army runs this organization, and it began in 1891 as an attempt to feed starving individuals around the holidays. The worldwide pandemic pushed the charity to start much earlier than it normally would in an attempt to come up with more funds. 

In fact, we could see up to a 50% decrease in red kettle funds this year due to several factors, including consumers carrying less cash and fewer coins, more online shopping, which means less foot traffic in shopping areas, unemployment rates, recent closures of some brick-and-mortar retail stores,” The Salvation Army said. 

In addition, the Angel Tree Program just launched this year for Christmas for the first time. For numerous years Walmart collaborated with the charity, and they continue to play a huge role by helping to provide things to those in need. This program allows select children to become “angels,” so that they can write their own Christmas list and local shoppers can pick up their tag on a Christmas tree inside the grocery store and donate gifts. The instructions on how to donate lay on the card, so people can easily contribute and turn this dreadful year around.  

St. Vincent De Paul, another Christian charity that strives to help low-income people address major issues, created multiple programs to aid people this coming holiday.  During Christmas, they provide food to those in need, and more than 1,100 people enjoy this free food. The Christmas Together program, another great initiative St. Vincent De Paul decided to take to aid people, grants participants with a matched family. They can purchase gifts on the family’s wish list and affect others’ lives immensely. 

The St. Vincent De Paul charity also transforms the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center into the “North Pole” each year. Parents come to the center during the holidays and pick out 2-3 of the thousands of donated toys for their children under the age of 14. Furthermore, the kids can play and meet Santa while their parents pick out the items. Thousands of families go without presents around the holiday season, so something like this positively impacts thousands of lives.

Despite COVID-19 negatively affecting people’s lives and creating difficulties in providing for people this holiday season, charities prepared early in order to combat the catastrophe.  Less fortunate people can still gain help from charities and the community to bring more joy to their Christmases in 2020.