Salvation Army prepares to help more families at Christmas, starts fundraising campaign early

MADISON, Wis. — For the first time in 130 years, the Salvation Army of Dane County is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early.

Staff said requests for services are at an all-time high right now. As of Thursday, 55 families and more than 30 single women are using emergency shelter services at the Salvation Army. There are 35 other families on the waitlist.

The organization also expects to serve 155 percent more people in 2020 with Christmas assistance, according to a release by the Salvation Army of Dane County.

Staff fear funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettle campaign are at risk, since fewer people are visiting stores or carrying cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, $559,000 was raised from red kettles in Dane County. Staff said the number of red kettle sites in the county are down this year from 75 to 65. They worry a drop in funds could limit the organization’s ability to serve others.

“A successful campaign means shelter, permanent housing, toys, utility assistance, and food for our friends in Dane County. It means breaking cycles of homelessness and transforming lives,” said Major Andrew Shiels, Capital Area Coordinator.

The kettles will officially be out in Dane County on Nov. 13.

Here’s how you can donate before then.

  • Participate in a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month by visiting SalvationArmyDaneCounty.org.
  • Sign up to ring at RingBellsDane.org. To ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
  • Mail a check with “Christmas Campaign” in the memo line to 3030 Darbo Drive in Madison, WI 53714.
  • Donate digitally with Kettle Pay at any red kettle.
  • Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army.”
  • Give any amount by texting “DANE” to 24365

The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through red kettles.