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Salvation Army goes high tech to kick off annual Red Kettle campaign

Salvation Army bell ringers are as much a part of the season as caroling and last-minute shopping. The local organization kicked off this year’s Red Kettle campaign on Friday evening with a concert at the Power & Light District.

This year’s fundraising drive has a new twist. Donors now have the option of contributing with Apple Pay or Google Pay. Users can tap their smartphones on a sticker and make a donation. People with older phones can scan a QR code for the same process. Red kettle bell ringers will continue to accept cash as well.

The Salvation Army tested the cashless option last year in Kansas City, as well as in New York, Dallas and Seattle. Although it did not raise large amounts of money during its first year of testing, the charity wanted to provide different alternatives to cash donations, a spokesperson sail.

The organization hopes that enabling mobile donations will motivate younger generations to contribute to the holiday tradition. Adoption of the technology comes as Americans pivot away from using cash. In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, about 29 percent of respondents said they made a purchase without cash in a typical week, up from 24 percent in 2015.

The Red Kettle Christmas Campaign enables the Salvation Army to provide food, toys and clothing to more than six million people during the Christmas season and helps more than 34 million Americans recovering from all kinds of personal disasters nationwide. The Red Kettle campaign, which first started in San Francisco in 1891, has traditionally been the Salvation Army’s most prominent fundraiser. About 70 percent of the money the Salvation Army collects for the year comes during the holidays.

You can visit their website to donate.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice