Kettle contributions total $107 million

Americans contributed $107 million to The Salvation Army’s 2005 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign, which will benefit more than 34 million needy individuals in thousands of communities nationwide. The campaign exceeded the previous year’s total of $102 million by 4.9 percent. The Army attributed the campaign’s success to the continued support of Wal-Mart, as well as the many retailers who invited the bell ringers to their front doors and volunteers who generously gave their time.

Funds donated to red kettles benefit people recovering from all kinds of personal disasters, ranging from unanticipated home heating costs to the loss of a job. Donations to the kettles remain in local communities, supporting Christmas and year-round programs.

“Raising additional funds in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrates the compassion of Americans,” said Major George Hood, national Community Relations secretary for The Salvation Army. “We are grateful to all the contributors who opened their hearts to help their neighbors in need.”

This year, more than 20,000 volunteers rang bells across the country. Wal-Mart assisted the Army by doubling the number of days Army volunteers were invited to ring bells at kettles in front of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide. As a result, Wal-Mart helped raised $26.7 million—a 58 percent increase over last year—for the campaign.

This year’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign included a national online “Red Kettle” that allowed individuals and organizations nationwide to help The Salvation Army raise funds. The virtual red kettles gave donors an opportunity to host their own kettles on personal, group or company websites. The online program raised more than $100,000 nationwide.

“Online donations are becoming an ever-increasing part of successful fundraising,” said Major Hood, “and we were eager to merge the Internet with our red kettle campaign to extend the reach of the red kettles and The Salvation Army.”

—U.S. National Headquarters news release

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