JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign is ending Thursday.
It’s the organization’s primary fundraiser to provide essential funds that help to operate year-round programs that work to better people’s lives throughout the community.
Last year, the organization raised $219,000 in Duval and Nassau counties. And at this time, even in the midst of a pandemic, the Salvation Army says it’s already up 25% to 30% more in donations than last year.
“We’ve been overwhelmed. We blasted that number over what our expectations were and today is the final push,” said Maj. Keath Biggers, area commander for Salvation Army of Northeast Florida. “We’re just so blessed by the generous outpouring of the community. I’m just overwhelmed and flabbergasted by the great outpouring of Northeast Florida community and our donors and our friends. This is a 129-year tradition, the Red Kettle program. And this year to see it in the midst of such a situation of this. I think that the people respond, when there are hard times people respond and they give generously.”
The pandemic did affect the collection efforts, especially for the famous “bell ringers”
“In our precaution measures we took to make sure our bell ringers were safe, as safe as could be with shields, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer as well as making sure our donors felt comfortable,” Biggers said.
The fundraiser has been collecting money since Nov. 6.
Biggers said there were an additional 1,500 families needing assistance this holiday season -- and he says he only expects there to be more families needing help in 2021.
The local Salvation Army campaign made news earlier this month with the donation of a diamond ring that was taped to a dollar bill and dropped into a red kettle. It was worth about $9,000.
“We also had another ring that was put into another kettle. We haven’t had that one appraised, but the value isn’t as much, but it’s still several hundred dollars or more that’s going to be contributed to our red kettle program,” Biggers said. “This morning I pulled out one kettle, two 50s and seven 20s in one little stack, so you know that was from one donor.”
Saving Christmas for families, one kettle at a time.
While the campaign will end Thursday, the organization says you can continue to donate online or through a check. To donate online, visit https://give.salvationarmyflorida.org/give/258115/#!/donation/checkout.
Checks can be sent to:
328 North Ocean Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202