The Salvation Army’s bell ringers are synonymous with Christmas, and they are collecting donations every year. They can be seen outside stores across the country ringing bells and wishing people “Merry Christmas!”
The Red Kettle tradition started over 100 years ago in San Francisco by a man who was raising money for the soup kitchen near his house.
Trish Simeroth, a Salvation Army Corps Officer in Casper, said that it has been a “struggle” raising change donations this year at the Red Kettle Bell.
“We’re seeing very little change come in,” said Simeroth. “The other thing is today’s more of a cashless society, and so that’s a big challenge. So our kettles have seen a lot of spiraling down.”
Simeroth explained that the kettles normally amount to “a good portion of what comes in,” and they are down to about a quarter of what they normally receive this year.
The Casper Salvation Army’s goal was to raise $87,000 this holiday season, and they are about halfway there with only two weeks left. Donations are down for a variety of reasons, said Simeroth, and the Salvation Army has suffered like many Americans.
They still need to raise the money any way they can, and this year they are accepting donations online, too. People can visit casperredkettle.org to donate, and a generous member of the community will match donations up to $10,000.
“Salvation Army represents more than just the red kettles and the donations,” said Simeroth. “It represents hope into this community and the communities throughout not only the United States, but the world.”