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The Salvation Army Cumberland Sets Out to “Rescue Christmas” Due to Immense Impact of COVID-19

September 17th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

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 Allegany, Garrett, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Pendleton and Tucker Counties, we served 3777 people last year. If we see the same level of increased requests for service, that would mean approximately 6000 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. In our communities, with fourteen kettle locations, $51, 000 was raised.


“With so many struggling just to meet basic needs, we anticipate more families in need of help to provide Christmas gifts for their children and a meal for senior citizens. The Salvation Army hopes to be a source of hope and joy to those in need this Christmas season,” said Captain Ronnette Smith.


Since March, The Salvation Army in Cumberland has provided more than 750 food boxes to over 1,200 people in need. Now more than ever, they’re making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in Maryland and West Virginia.

  • The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
  • Kettles will be out in our communities in mid November. To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
  • Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Western Maryland and Eastern West Virginia
  • Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
  • Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.
  • Donate physical gifts in bulk.
  • Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.


Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year. If you need services or know of someone in need, please visit to find a location near you.