Salvation Army sees big drop in Red Kettle volunteers and donations

Dec 19, 2017

A shortage of volunteer bell ringers has resulted in fewer donations to help fund Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta programs.

The Salvation Army usually puts  between 300 to 400 bright red kettles outside and inside stores throughout the metro area. This year, due to a dearth of bell ringers, only about half of that number have been placed.


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Money raised through kettle donations funds the organization’s social services programs throughout the year, including feeding the hungry, providing shelter for those in need and providing safety for victims of human trafficking.

Each year, The Salvation Army sets a goal to raise $2 million through its red kettle program. Currently, donations are down nearly $200,000 from what they were this time last year.

This substantial drop in donations could affect the organization’s ability to sustain its social services programs in 2018.

A donation is made into a Salvation Army red kettle on November 28, 2017 in Hallandale, Florida. Giving Tuesday is a single day following the heavy Thanksgiving shopping period specifically focused on charity. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Outside of a miracle, we can’t expect to raise $2 million dollars between now and Christmas Eve,” Major Bob Parker, area commander , said in a release. “Bell ringing is not only a tradition, but a necessity.”

Kettles will remain at stores through Dec 23. Volunteers are also needed to ring the bell. If interested, go to the nonprofit’s website and click on “locations” to find the  community center closest to you. 

Last year,  the Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Command provided nearly 150,000 meals and  assisted nearly 170,000 people with food, clothing, and rent or mortgage assistance.