The Salvation Army Announces Impact Of Rescue Christmas Campaign
Thursday, January 14, 2021
The Salvation Army’s Chattanooga Area Command announced Thursday that 5,611 Angel Tree recipients, 2,376 families and 150 individuals facing homelessness were supported by the organization’s Rescue Christmas fundraising campaign. "The impact of the campaign signals a sharp increase in the number of families who now meet the poverty threshold in the Chattanooga and Cleveland regions," officials said. In 2020, the organization saw a 64 percent increase in the number of families relying on The Salvation Army’s support.
“As we approached this holiday season, we understood the distinct challenges of meeting the tremendous need faced by a growing number of individuals and families in our area,” said Major Mark Smith of the Chattanooga Area Command.
“Though the need was greater than ever, so was the support from our community. Through your generosity and kindness, we were able to assist more neighbors than ever through our Rescue Christmas campaign. We will continue to rely on the community to serve families facing poverty as a heartbreaking side effect of the pandemic.”
The campaign included The Salvation Army’s three hallmark initiatives: the annual Angel Tree program, the Red Kettle Challenge and Ringing at the Red Kettle.
"The Angel Tree program, which makes Christmas possible for thousands of children and senior citizens throughout our region, faced a 20 percent increase in the number of children and seniors that qualified to receive assistance," officials said. A record-breaking 5,611 children and senior adults were registered for the program in the greater Chattanooga and Cleveland regions. Angels received clothing, toys and necessities, as well as gift certificates for their families to purchase groceries.
In addition, nearly 40 area employers participated in the Red Kettle Challenge presented by BB&T | SunTrust now Truist. The challenge, which encourages area businesses and organizations to raise $1,000 and challenge others to do the same, raised more than $90,000.
“I applaud the many employer groups, organizations, schools, clubs and others that chose to take the Red Kettle Challenge and help lift up our most vulnerable neighbors during a time of year that can be difficult for many,” said Jim Vaughn, market president of BB&T | SunTrust now Truist. “Because of your generosity and support, we’ve more than tripled the funds raised from last year’s Red Kettle Challenge.”
To reduce the spread of illness, The Salvation Army was forced to adjust its annual Ringing at the Red Kettle campaign due to the pandemic. Without as many kettles and ringers, The Salvation Army raised approximately $100,000 less than last year.
“Though we anticipated a decrease in our kettle funds raised, the success of the Red Kettle Challenge and continuous support from the community allowed us to fill in the gaps,” said Major Smith. “We are humbled and deeply appreciative of the community for allowing us to continue doing the most good for individuals and families who rely on our help.”
In addition, The Salvation Army distributed 150 backpacks filled with essentials and food items to members of the homeless community. Volunteers visited area encampments and gathering places to deliver the backpacks. Individuals staying at The Salvation Army’s overnight shelter for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 also received gifts.
To learn more about The Salvation Army, call 423-756-1023.