U.S. Donors Contribute $117 Million To 2006 Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Campaign

Record Level of Giving to Help Those in Need in Local Communities


Mar 15, 2007, 01:00 ET from The Salvation Army

    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