Salvation Army ready for holiday season with virtual opportunities to donate

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Salvation Army’s “Rescue Christmas” campaign is now underway, ringing in the season of kettle bells and Christmas shopping for kids with new opportunities to participate in person or virtually.

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At Rushmore Mall on Thursday, representatives from the Salvation Army, Riddle’s Jewelry, and Rushmore Mall were on site to ring the inaugural bells to start the season.

This year’s fundraising goal is $380,000 with $200,000 raised in area kettle and counter top kettles during the months of November and December.

Through the red kettles and angel tree program, the Salvation Army hopes to help more than 2,000 families with food and gifts under the tree around the holidays.

With the pandemic, organizers say the need is greater this year than in previous years.

“We’ve served a lot of families this year who were doing just fine last Christmas and didn’t need our assistance, but things have changed for them this year,” said Capt. Kelsie Moreno, Corps Officer with the Salvation Army of the Black Hills. “Some have lost their jobs all together, some have reduced hours to stay with children who are doing virtual learning, and it’s just really impacted a lot of households that are new to the program this year.”

In addition to the traditional programs, there are new ways to donate and new incentives for volunteers.

You can still pick up a tree tag at a participating business, purchase a gift, and return to the business with the tag. You can also visit walmart.com  to shop through the Salvation Army’s gift registry and have the gifts shipped directly to your local office.

For folks looking to make monetary donations, you can stop by the bell ringers with their red kettles and drop in cash or, new this year, pay with the touch of a button on your smart phone.

Rapid City is again participating in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program this year with three tree locations.  The public is encouraged to stop by one of the City’s Angel Tree locations, pick up a gift tag from the Angel Tree containing a child’s holiday gift wish, shop for that gift, then drop off the tag with the unwrapped item back at the same location.

The deadline to drop off the gifts is noon Friday, December 11.

“The City is pleased to participate again in this year’s Angel Tree program,” said Mayor Steve Allender.  “There are various Angel Tree locations, including four City locations.  There are few greater rewards than bringing happiness and joy to a child at Christmas and granting their gift wish.”

City locations include:

  • City Hall/300 Sixth Street:  The Angel Tree with gift tags is located in the lobby. Unwrapped gifts and tags can be placed at the tree or taken to the Mayor’s Office on third floor.
  • Rapid City Fire Department/10 Main Street:  The Angel Tree is located in the lobby of Fire Station 1.  Gift tags and gifts are placed beneath the tree at the location. When tags are gone, the public is still encouraged to drop off unwrapped gifts which will be donated to the Salvation Army.
  • Rushmore Plaza Civic Center/444 Mt. Rushmore Road:  The Angel Tree gift tags are located on the Civic Center administrative box office window, Tags and gifts can be dropped off at the Civic Center’s administrative offices.

Also new this year, is the option to donate directly online.

“Fewer people are carrying cash and fewer people are out and about so we want to make sure we capture that virtual opportunity, so we launched blackhillsredkettle.org, ” said Moreno. “People can go online and make their donation right from the comfort of their own homes and they can rest assured that those dollars go to serve their neighbors in need.”

Throughout Rushmore Mall’s food court are QR codes for people to follow directly to the donation website.

Anyone interested in signing up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army can do so here, in two-hour shifts. For every time you volunteer, you will be entered to win a diamond necklace valued at over $700 dollars, donated by Riddle’s Jewelry for the “Riddle’s Ring for Bling” campaign.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News, South Dakota News