The Salvation Army took root in London in 1865, and in the immediate years that followed, its branches extended across the globe and into the United States.

By 1891, the organization’s now famous red kettle campaign began in San Francisco. The effort, which collects money to provide goods and services to the poor and destitute during the Christmas season, has filled a glaring need ever since.

That need is more acute than ever now as the local campaign is set to begin this week against the backdrop of a persistent pandemic that has gripped us for eight months now.

“The need is greater than it has been for many, many years,” said Salvation Army of Kankakee Lt. T. Scott Parnell in a recent interview with the Daily Journal. “It’s been hard. People have been out of work, they’ve been sick. We’re hopeful God will provide what we need, and we’ll adjust. We’ll have to meet the needs however we can.”

The adjustments made include an ultra modern way to donate to the cause. You can still simply drop money into one of the approximately half dozen kettles set up locally, or you can use your smartphone to donate as the kettles will have a QR code which you can scan to access Apple pay of Google pay.

Additionally, donations can also be accepted online at salvationarmy.usa.org, or people can host their own virtual kettle at salarmy.us/kankakeekettle.

Regardless of how you donate, every dime collected will go toward the local Salvation Army to help the less fortunate it serves. The fundraising goal is $198,000.

While many generous benefactors contributed last year, the Salvation Army fell about $20,000 short of its goal. Since Parnell estimates the need is 153 percent greater this year than last, a shortfall in 2020 will have potentially unpleasant consequences.

So, let us who are able contribute to make sure the goal is met. For more information on how to help, including volunteering as a bell ringer, visit centralusa.salvationarmy.org/kankakee or call 815-933-8421. You can also visit The Salvation Army Kankakee Facebook page.

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