SYRACUSE, N.Y.( NCC News)– Monday was the first day that The Salvation Army of Syracuse set up a red kettle station at Price Chopper. This is one of the 32 live kettle locations across Onondaga County.
Director of Operations David Dean said the Salvation Army’s goal this year is to receive $220,000 in donations.
One way they plan on doing this is by adding PayPal and Venmo. Dean said this also helps people who want to donate but are still skeptical about COVID.
“It gives people an option if they are afraid to come near the kettle they can just tap and pay or scan and go,” Dean said. ” It gives them an option to stay away from the bell ringer and if you don’t have cash that’s a huge option for people.”
The Red Kettle campaign is the Salvation Army’s biggest fundraiser of the year, said Gina Lazara, the Public Relations and Special Event Manager. The money that is received from the kettles helps keep all 40 programs that they oversee operating. Some of these programs include a food pantry, preschool, daycare, senior center, youth center, family center, women’s shelter and more.
Starting Thursday the Salvation Army will have its second Annual Red Kettle Telethon where people can call or text to make donations.
Everyone that stands at the kettle station is a volunteer and the stations are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. These stations will be operating up until Dec 24.
In between saying “Happy Holidays” and ringing his bell, volunteer Daniel Nelson said he loves doing this despite the weather.
“It makes me feel real good and I dress right for the weather,” Nelson said.
He also said that he saw a good amount of donations the first week.
“The first week yes, ” Nelson said. “Today I guess they are shy because of the cameras but they still come out despite the weather.”
In addition, 32 kettles are less compared to previous years when they would have 45. Dean said there are a few factors for the decrease in kettles around Onondaga County.
“We definitely lost some stores,” Dean said. “We had some stores that aren’t letting us stand this year. Year after year it’s a little bit different and COVID doesn’t help that’s for sure.”
To find out if you are eligible to receive some of the resources that The Salvation Army provides you apply online or in-person at the OnCenter. According to Dean, there are certain income restrictions based on how many people you have in your family and an application process, which the person must meet all the requirements before they can receive the help.