Salvation Army launching red kettle campaign 2 months early to help ‘Rescue Christmas’

ATLANTA — We haven’t even made it to Halloween yet, and one metro charity is already making a move to rescue Christmas.

Every year, the Salvation Army of Atlanta’s red kettles are filled as bells of hope ring. But this year, things will be different.

“So we know that there will be fewer resources but greater need. So that’s why we’re starting early to get folks thinking about it,” said Maj. Bob Parker with the Salvation Army of Greater Atlanta.

Parker told Channel 2′s Lori Wilson that the organization is launching a Rescue Christmas campaign, and will start ringing bells two months before they usually put out the red kettles.

“There are those who are probably sitting next to us that we don’t even realize that are struggling every day to feed their family, their children, and to pay rent payments, and to keep the lights on,” Parker said.

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Margaret Stewart said her desire to serve the Salvation Army comes from deep in her heart. She believes in the mission and has seen the need firsthand.

“It helps so many people all over the country, and in Atlanta. We need it more than ever,” Stewart said.

Salvation Army leaders say donations are down 50% this year, but the needs are greater than ever -- up 155%.

When you see a red kettle this season, you’ll also see hand sanitizer and masks, another sign of the times.

In case you aren’t carrying cash or change, you can donate with your cell phone.

“You’ll be able to pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay at those kettle locations,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to jump into the 21st century here.”

The Salvation Army is accepting donations now online. You can become a monthly donor or give a one-time gift.