Walmart and The Salvation Army announced this week that they are partnering this holiday season for the 122nd Annual Red Kettle Campaign. Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the country will host The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles and bell ringers again this holiday season between Friday, November 23rd and Monday, December 24th. Last year, Walmart and Sam’s Club helped The Salvation Army raise more than $46 million— nearly one-third of all money raised. All donations made to the red kettles will remain in the local communities in which they were collected, and help The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to 30 million people a year. In addition, on Saturday, December 8, more than 2,500 Walmart stores will participate in “Fill the Truck” toy drives to help provide new toys and coats to children in need on Christmas.
“As we gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays this year, it’s important for us to remember our neighbors in need,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. “By working with The Salvation Army and our generous shoppers, we hope to be able to provide families nationwide with basic need items like food, clothing and shelter, as well as bring more smiles to thousands of children on Christmas day.”
“Fill the Truck” events will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, December 8 at select Walmart stores. The events are open to the general public who would like to donate new toys and coats to children who take part in Salvation Army programs year round. Upon arrival, shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to add to the truck or collection bin at the stores. Once the donation receptacles are full, The Salvation Army will bring the donations to their local units and distribute the gifts throughout the Christmas season as part of their support to local families in need. Collections are expected to provide gifts to more than 10,000 children nationwide.
This year, the Walmart Foundation also made a $1 million donation to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The donation will be split among the four Salvation Army Territories and support feeding programs, including meal programs for youths. Last year, The Salvation Army served nearly 58 million meals to children and adults in need. Notably, 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need among families with children due to the recession in 2011, according to “Growing Up in a Downturn,”a Salvation Army report from earlier this year. The report also found that 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs. As a result of the recession’s lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue this Christmas season.
“For the past several years, there has been a growing need in America, and social service organizations like The Salvation Army have seen this demand first hand,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. “The ‘Fill the Truck’ event with Walmart will help The Salvation Army meet that need this Christmas, and provide something special to children in need.”
From its humble origin 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 campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public’s nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.