Salvation Army says some kettles will stay in storage unless more bell-ringers volunteer

Fewer Salvation Army red kettles will be out this year due to pandemic

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Salvation Army says it will have to leave roughly 25 kettles in storage this winter because there are not enough people willing to man the usual number of donation stations in the Baton Rouge area.

Bell-ringers will set up outside about 35 stores when the local Red Kettle drive begins Nov. 20.

“It’s a struggle right now,” Maj. Don Tekautz, who heads the Baton Rouge Salvation Army, said. “We’re struggling just hiring employees to be in our family store to keep it up and running too.”

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Tekautz says the local shelter is full almost every night, and more people are asking the Salvation Army for help with rent and utilities than any time since the 2016 floods.

“You already think about people who are living on a margin who are in trouble,” he said. “We’re facing now, families who have never come to us for help.”

Tekautz says demand for social services and mental health assistance has increased by 155% since 2019. The Salvation Army aims to raise about $220,000 during its kettle drive this winter.

There are now new ways to make contactless donations, in addition to QR codes that appeared on kettles in 2019. The Salvation Army has set up an online kettle program, where people can challenge friends to donate using their computers.

Ringing a bell for an hour can raise enough money to feed 13 people a meal. You can sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army by clicking here.

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