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Salvation Army sets out to ‘Rescue Christmas’

GRAFTON — For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas.

The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.

Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization could serve up to 155 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available. In Grafton serving Taylor, Barbour and Randolph counties, we served 1,125 people last year with Christmas. If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean 1,744 people who need our help this holiday season.

At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable.

To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles. The Grafton command raised $41,000 in our three counties for last year.

“We are seeing an increase in our food bank that is quite alarming. We have been able to meet the needs as far as food is concerned thanks to partnerships such as the Mountaineer Food Bank. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do financial assistance in recent months,” said Captain Denise Stewart. Stewart continued, “I pray that hearts become tender in this situation and that those who can give; will give. Without the community, we can not meet even the simplest of need, but with those who can give help us to make miracles happen. One person or family at a time. Please give.”

For more information on what The Salvation Army does and what it can do, call 304-265-3565. To give now you can call the local office or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

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