ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- This year's Red Kettle Campaign collected more than $144 million, exceeding last year's total by 6.3 percent. Thanks to the support of donors and corporate partners, the money raised will help The Salvation Army provide food, shelter and social services to nearly 30 million Americans in need this year.
"The economy continued to face strong headwinds, which could have resulted in a loss for us and greatly affected our programming, but the generosity of the American public helped us avoid that," said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army's National Headquarters. "The Red Kettle Campaign is the most important fundraising season of the year for us, and this year's campaign was no doubt, a success."
The Salvation Army enjoyed a jam-packed holiday season with events and initiatives new and old. Starting from the top:
The Salvation Army introduced the new #RedKettleReason initiative, a movement fueled by America's motivations for donating to the Red Kettles. The #RedKettleReason campaign served as the backbone for this year's supporters to share their personal connection to the kettles and donate online. Celebrities, corporate partners and donors alike shared their reasons by tagging social posts with #RedKettleReason.
Jerry Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson, along with The Salvation Army's National Commander, Commissioner David Jeffrey, kicked off the 2014 Red Kettle Campaign and #RedKettleReason with a satellite media tour at AT&T Stadium the day before Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys also showcased star players Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten's #RedKettleReasons along with hundreds of others on national television just before halftime of their Thanksgiving Day game. The campaign kickoff marked the 18th year the Cowboys organization has partnered with The Salvation Army to launch the iconic campaign during the nationally televised game.
Rising pop stars Becky G and Shawn Mendes headlined the fifth annual Rock the Red Kettle Concert and got fans excited by sharing their own #RedKettleReasons with their fans. The concert also featured performances by R5, Bea Miller, Josh Levi and Exist Elsewhere. In partnership with Teen Vogue, fans who shared their #RedKettleReasons won a variety of prizes, from Twitter follows from Shawn Mendes to a trip to L.A. to see the concert in person.
Leading up to and on #GivingTuesday, December 2, The Salvation Army was seen and talked about during national media appearances on the TODAY show (live on the plaza with Al Roker), The Meredith Vieira Show, Access Hollywood Live and Steve Harvey. As a result, online donations increased by 55 percent that day. Later in the week, 59-year bell ringer Merril Fie and family talked about their connection with The Salvation Army during TODAY with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Donations through salvationarmyusa.org totaled $24.91 million, with $4.1 million donated on the last day of the year. As a result, online donations were up 16% versus 2013.
Corporate partners also contributed greatly to the success of the 2014 Red Kettle Campaign.
Red Kettles outside of Walmart and Sam's Club locations across the U.S. collected $35.9 million and $4.6 million, respectively, which contributed about 28 percent of the $144.7 million total. More than 2,300 Kroger and Harris Teeter stores hosted Red Kettles, raising a total of $16 million, or 11 percent of the $144.7 total. Red Kettles at roughly 700 JCPenney stores collected a total of $2.8 million for the campaign, and 690 Big Lots locations raised $1.2 million.
From November 28 through December 14, thousands of Walmart stores hosted the third annual Fill the Truck event, collecting more than 93,000 toys and 5,700 coats for children this holiday. Walmart customers also made an online donation of $12,000, which will be distributed to individuals and families in need in the form of $25 gift cards.
Papa John's introduced a signature Red Kettle cookie, a unique holiday twist to its popular treat, the Mega Chocolate Chip Cookie, during the 2014 campaign season. A portion of the proceeds, totaling $200,000, went to supporting The Salvation Army. Even Papa John's founder John Schnatter shared his #RedKettleReason during halftime of the Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys game.
Hanes and The Salvation Army teamed up once again to provide socks to those in need in New York City. This year, Hanes donated 150,000 pairs of socks to The Salvation Army, bringing the total number of socks donated over the past five years to 2.85 million.
Russell Stover produced Salvation Army co-branded chocolate tins to highlight their partnership with The Salvation Army, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Red Kettle Campaign. In total, Russell Stover made a $4,000 contribution.
Tiger Tales, an independent children's' book publisher, donated a portion of proceeds from the sales of the book "The Spirit of Christmas" in support of The Salvation Army. The book featured a Salvation Army sticker on the cover, as well as a letter from the author encouraging donors to participate in the Angel Tree program.
Every year, The Salvation Army helps nearly 30 million people, roughly one person per second. Donations help provide more than 10 million nights of shelter, roughly 58 million meals, and after-school and substance abuse programs. During the holiday season, nearly 4.2 million people rely on The Salvation Army to provide their families with warm meals on Christmas Day or toys for their children. Through The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program, more than 1 million children receive necessities and toys.
From its humble beginnings as a program started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Red Kettles manned with Salvation Army volunteers throughout the country ring bells and solicit donations during the holidays.
About The Salvation Army
Established in London in 1865, The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter for the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.
SOURCE The Salvation Army