Christmas is early for the Renton Salvation Army— and leaders say the organization needs help.
With COVID-19 cases starting to reach a third wave in King County, the nonprofit is expecting to suffer a loss of profits due to the pandemic.
Renton Salvation Army expects a 50% decrease in income from red kettle bell ringers, as businesses are not open as often and some have even shuttered, and they expect less volunteers to ring bells due to health concerns during the pandemic.
The Renton Salvation Army offers a food bank, dinners, rent relief and other services to the community, serving as many as 10,000 people a year— nearly 10% of Renton’s entire population.
And economic hardships have led to an increase in Renton services in 2020. Local Salvation Army Captain Isaias Braga said the increase in needs in Renton leads them to expect there a 155% increase in people searching for Christmas services, including the annual Christmas gift donations to local children in need.
“Without making efforts now, I don’t know how we’re going to do the Christmas gifts,” Braga said.
For this reason, Renton Salvation Army and other nationwide locations are beginning a fundraising campaign, “Rescue Christmas.”
Social Services Director Amber Schneider said there’s several ways the community can support Renton Salvation Army in advance of the holiday season. The first, and most directly helpful, is to donate funds, which can be done via check or virtually at rescuechristmas.org.
That website will direct you to your local Salvation Army, Braga said, so all the money goes directly to Renton and it’s services for our community.
The second way is to host a “virtual kettle.” Like the bell ringers, folks can host an online kettle and campaign with their community or online network to fill their kettle with their donation goal. Individuals and organizations can host virtual kettles, and just need to contact Schneider at 425-255-5969ext. 213 or email her here.
The third way to support is to volunteer to be an in-person bell ringer at the stores that will be allowing red kettles this season, Braga said they prefer volunteers and otherwise have to spend local funds to hire bell staff.
For more information on supporting Renton Salvation Army, contact Schneider at the above contacts or visit Renton.SalvationArmy.org/Renton_Corps.