The Salvation Army launches its Virtual Red Kettle Campaign!

Mar 16, 2021 | by Jennifer Byrd

The Salvation Army in San Francisco Sets Out to “Rescue Christmas” Due to Immense Impact of COVID-19

The Salvation Army launches its Virtual Red Kettle to meet increasing need on October 15

San Francisco, CA (October 15, 2020) – The Salvation Army has launched its annual holiday fundraising online campaign early across the San Francisco Bay Area in order to rescue Christmas. The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.

Beginning today, donors can log onto and make a donation to The Salvation Army in San Francisco. All donations stay local to the organization’s San Francisco programs.

Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization anticipates an increase in services in 2020 with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available.

Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, we are anticipating a greater need this year and due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, we could see a decline in funds raised through the red kettles. The loss of one retailer could lead to a decrease of $40,000 to our Red Kettle Campaign budget in San Francisco. Last year, we raised $190, 000 in 40 kettles around San Francisco.

“When you hear the very familiar Salvation Army bell this season, I want people to remember we are sounding the alarm to ask for help in our effort to rescue Christmas,” Major Matthew Madsen, Divisional Secretary for San Francisco said. “Families are in need this year more than ever — between the wildfires, the pandemic, and the subsequent job losses. Many of our clients have shared they are worried about having to decide whether to pay for their daily needs or gifts for their children. It’s been a long year for us, but we are not done yet and we know the need is going to be even greater this year, so we are preparing for a very difficult but rewarding end of the year.”

Since March, The Salvation Army in San Francisco has provided more than 270,000 meals, 34,000 nights of safe shelter or rental assistance, and emotional and spiritual support to more than 51,000 people in need. We’ve also served more than 180,000 meals to our unhoused neighbors through our MealsinPlaceSF partnership with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Now more than ever, we are making it safer and simpler to donate in order to support the most vulnerable in our community:

  • Donate online at
  • The traditional Red Kettle Campaign will launch in the Bay Area in November. To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
  • Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
  • Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999.
  • Donate physical gifts in bulk.
  • Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army was established in London in 1865, and since 1883 has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area, offering practical support, spiritual comfort and a critical safety net to people in need. The safety net is funded in part by donations from the Red Kettle Campaign which started in San Francisco in 1891. Nearly 300,000 people living in the San Francisco Bay Area receive assistance from the Army annually through a range of social services; clothing and shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, opportunities for underprivileged children, alcohol rehabilitation, transitional housing, nutritional and housing support for seniors and relief for disaster survivors. For every dollar donated to The Salvation Army, 82 cents is used to support those services in the facilities throughout San Francisco. For more information go to or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SalvationArmySF



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