Salvation Army Red Kettles Set New Record Nationally
2007 Christmas Fundraising Campaign Raises $118 Million
Alexandria, VA - Despite predictions of a weak economy, Americans once again dug deep into their pockets last Christmas season to help those in need. In total, more than $118 million dollars were donated to The Salvation Army’s iconic Red Kettles, eclipsing the record $117 million raised in 2007. The modest year over year increase of $1.3 million represents a 0.7 percent rise in total dollars donated across the country. The money raised will be used to support the operations of The Salvation Army in the local area where it was given, including Christmas assistance and year-round programs and services like at-risk youth programs and transitional living facilities.
“We were pleasantly surprised by this year’s total considering the increasing need we’re seeing given the home mortgage crisis, rising prices for home heating oil, and the state of general economic uncertainty,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army. “Ultimately, people realize how important it is to help those who are less fortunate, particularly as the need increases. So, we thank every donor for their community support through The Salvation Army and pledge to use these generous funds to continue to provide the critical services that people need.”
For the eleventh year in a row, the Red Kettle Campaign was kicked-off in a nationally televised performance at The Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game. “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson was the featured performer and served as the honorary kettle chair for the season. More than $1 billion has been raised since the national partnership with the Cowboys began in 1997.
The campaign was successful, in part, due to the support of multiple retail partners nationwide allowing kettles in front of stores throughout the Christmas season. In 2007, kettles in front of Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs collectively raised more than $32 million, approximately 27 percent of the total campaign giving and more than any other participating retail partner for a second year in a row.
“The Salvation Army understands the importance of caring for local communities - something that is highly valued at Wal-Mart,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “We are very pleased that our company’s support of the annual Red Kettle Campaign will support The Salvation Army this next year as they reach out to millions of people to provide help such as rent, shelter after a natural disaster, or maybe just a warm meal after days of not eating anything at all.”
In addition to hosting kettles in front of stores, President and CEO Lee Scott launched the retail chain’s efforts with a $1 million dollar donation on behalf of the Wal-Mart Foundation during a simultaneous nationwide bell ringing event organized to raise awareness of volunteering and charitable giving. On November 27, local celebrities and politicians were invited to join store managers and Salvation Army officers as volunteer bell ringers at Wal-Mart stores across the country for “Bells Ringing Across America.”
Rayovac Batteries joined Wal-Mart in the launch event, dropping a $250,000 check on the first day of the campaign. Rayovac then kept the bell ringing across America on a multi-city mobile tour that encouraged volunteerism and donations to the kettle at special events and retail stores nationwide.
“We can’t overstate the importance of our retail partners to our fundraising efforts,” said Major Hood. “Particularly in a year like this, with many Americans beginning to feel the economic pinch, it was critical for us to have the direct interaction with donors that partners like Wal-Mart provided and fostered throughout the season.”
Last year, The Salvation Army also offered the public and business the opportunity to host Online Red Kettles to allow friends and customers to give virtually. Corporate partners including the Dallas Cowboys, Rayovac and Wal-Mart all signed up to serve as virtual volunteers. In total, the Online Red Kettle campaign raised over $585,000 online, a 21 percent increase over last year’s total.
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. As part of the drive, more than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. The nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) are all used to help those in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army serve more than 35 million Americans in need, including nearly 5 million who received holiday assistance such as toys, coats, rent and utility aid, among other services.
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