PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As they brought in the last of the Red Kettles on Christmas Eve, Salvation Army Major Bob Lloyd took stock of what has been a very tough year for many.
“Over the last month we have helped thousands of families in the last month one way or another, either through giving them toys, food, providing lodging, residential services,” Lloyd told KOIN 6 News.
The need for services jumped by 155% this year, he said, adding people reached out for help sooner than ever.
“Back in October when people were furloughed and losing their jobs, they were calling us, asking us for help with Christmas, signed up for Christmas,” he said. “Far more requests than we’ve ever seen.”
And as the need is great, donations in 2020 are down. Lloyd said the Red Kettle goal is $540,000 and they’ve reached 75% of that. That means another $135,000 is still needed.
“Many of our retail partners have gone out of business. Fewer people are carrying change and more and more people are shopping online,” he said. “We knew it would be a tough year, so it’s a little bit disappointing to us that we are only at 75% of our goal.”
There are several ways people can donate to help end the holiday on a high note, including online.
“Portland is an amazingly generous community and we typically see that throughout the Christmas season,” Lloyd said. “We were short on toys when we started the season and we ended up with plenty of toys for everybody who came to us for help. And I’m confident as it relates to the monetary donations that people are going to come through for us in the very end.”
The Salvation Army helps people 365 days a year. On Christmas morning, those in the residential program will be served breakfast and will be able to open presents provided by the Salvation Army.