Every year the Salvation Army has volunteers ringing bells across the country, asking for donations of spare change during the holiday season to raise money for the non-profit’s yearly budget. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aurora Salvation Army has still not met its fundraising goal, just days before Christmas.
The Salvation Army Providing Assistance
“Usually we have challenges every year with volunteers, bell-ringers, but this year has tremendous challenges and it shows in the amount of money we have raised so far,” said Captain Joaquin Rangel, a Corps. Officer of Salvation Army Aurora. “The money that we raise during this time helps us operate for the whole year and provide for families. It will have some impact in the year to come. We are 40% behind our goal. We have a budget and we raised so far around $115,000, which is 40% behind what we need. A budget for this time is usually $215,000,” said Rangel.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many without income or in financial hardship this year making the work that the Salvation Army does more critical than ever. Their mission is to provide assistance like rent and utility assistance and a weekly food pantry to those who have fallen on hard times.
“Since this pandemic situation started back in March we have seen an increase in need for us, and even people who have been working have lost their jobs and we’ve been assisting more people than before,” said Rangel.
Challenges with COVID-19
But the same pandemic making the Salvation Army more needed is also presenting challenges for funding. The bell-ringers manning kettles across towns have been in short supply…and with residents staying at home, there’s not as much foot-traffic by the kettles.
“We have seen from the volunteer side of the people that help us ring the bell, community groups, churches, they are not meeting right now so consequentially they have not been able to form the groups that usually form our panels. On the other side the people that help us by donating every year, they are also afraid to go out and to get close to people or the kettle. So on both sides it has affected us a great deal,’ said Rangel.
Contact Free Kettle Collecting
For those out and about who don’t have coins or dollar bills, the Salvation Army does offer a QR scan code at kettles for contactless donations during the remainder of the holiday season. Additionally those wishing to donate can do it online via the Salvation Army’s website, where you can also register to volunteer your time as a bell-ringer.
Rengel says that though times are tough this holiday season, he has hope that the Army will still continue to provide its services. “We are a faith-based organization, and in times like this we have to have faith that we will be provided for.” said Rangel.
The last day to ring bells is December 24th. Bell-ringers will be accepting donations until 2:00 pm that day.
Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports.
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