Salvation Army in need of cash and toys

Salvation Army Kettle. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The 2021 Red Kettle campaign in Chatham-Kent is behind.

“Our kettles are down a little bit this year, which we expected because of COVID. We’re down about $53,000 this year, which is okay, last year a lot of people gave,” said Salvation Army Captain Stephen Holland.

New this year at the kettles is the tap machine, which allows people to donate using their credit card.

“It stops the people from saying ‘I have no cash.'” said Captain Holland. “We’ve raised about $11,000 through our tap machine so that’s a bonus for us this year because we normally wouldn’t get that. That’s $11,000 that will help out for sure for Christmas and the coming year.”

Holland said toy donations for their toy baskets are also down this year.

“We’re low in toys this year for children 0 to 2 and children from 10 to 12 years of age. So we have a lot of stocking stuffers, smaller items, but it’s the larger items like dolls, or craft sets, or art sets, things like that. Kids are looking for a lot of art sets this year, I think because of COVID last year, staying home, they got used to doing crafts, so they’re looking for a lot of those this year.”

The toy baskets will be delivered next week, so Captain Holland is going toy shopping on Wednesday to fill the gap. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off this week at the Salvation Army Church on Orangewood Boulevard in Chatham.