ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans
contributed $117 million to this year's Red Kettle Christmas Campaign,
which will benefit those in need in more than 5,000 local communities
across the country. This year's total marks a 5.4% increase over last
year's record campaign total of $111 million. The Army attributed the
115-year-old campaign's continued success to the support of retailers who
invited the Red Kettle bell ringers to their front doors, volunteers who
generously gave their time and the overall generosity of the American
"The Salvation Army continues to be humbled by the generosity and
support of the American public," said Major George Hood, National Community
Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army. "This record year of giving
will enable the Army to continue its critical work serving those who need
it most throughout the country."
The Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign was kicked off nationally
for the tenth year in a row during the halftime show of the Dallas Cowboys'
traditional Thanksgiving Day football game. Country music superstar and
"American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood was the featured performer for the
live, nationally televised program on the Fox Network. The Dallas victory
over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was punctuated by star wide receiver Terrell
Owens slam dunking a touchdown reception into an oversized Salvation Army
kettle which had been placed just outside the end zone.
The Salvation Army also expanded its retail support with high-profile
partnerships with Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Clubs across the
country again extended the number of days that Salvation Army bell-ringers
were allowed to ring in front of stores and clubs. As a result, Wal-Mart
helped raise about $27.4 million in front of stores and clubs, the most
raised by a single retail partner and nearly a quarter of all Red Kettle
fundraising. In addition, Wal-Mart made a $1 million direct donation to the
Red Kettles at an event with CEO Lee Scott, as well as a $250,000 donation
to its online Red Kettle at http://walmart.com.
The campaign gathered momentum via the many small business owners, as
well as volunteer bell ringers, including President George H. W. Bush and
First Lady Barbara Bush, who rang bells at a local furniture store in
Houston, TX, near their home to encourage volunteerism. Store owner Jim
"Mattress Mack" McIngvale hosted the event and dropped a check for $50,000
into a kettle as the campaign entered its final week before Christmas.
From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army
captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into
one of the most recognizable and important charitable outreach efforts in
the United States. As part of the drive, more than 25,000 Salvation Army
volunteers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit spare
change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. The
nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars (and the occasional diamond ring or
gold tooth) are all returned to help those in the communities where they
were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army serve more than
31 million Americans in need, including 6 million who received holiday
assistance such as toys, coats, rent and utility assistance, among others.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian
church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name
without discrimination for 126 years in the United States. Over 31 million
Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the
broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the
hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach
to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and
opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar
raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.
For more information, go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org.
SOURCE The Salvation Army