Salvation Army York reports donations are down as assistance requests surge

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Donations are not keeping up with increased requests for assistance this holiday season, according to The Salvation Army of York County.

The nonprofit organization reports that its Red Kettle donations are down nearly 33%, while assistance requests from community members have surged more than 40% over this time last year.

For years, the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign has been a staple in holiday philanthropy. Volunteers ring bells in front of bright red kettles at big box stores seeking monetary donations to go toward various programs and resources.

Salvation Army volunteer Steve Heilman collecting donations at the Sam's Club in East York on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.

Several factors are contributing to the decline in donations this year, including inflation and donor fatigue, according to Lt. Hyesoo Kim, the assistant corps officer for The Salvation Army in York County.

"As prices are getting higher with everything nowadays, people are struggling to make their own money," Kim said. "Also, with donor fatigue, during the height of the pandemic a lot of people have been asked to help out, to give money. I'm sure they were asked so often they're probably exhausted."

Another reason for the lack of donations, Kim said, is simply that fewer people are carrying cash on them.

Salvation Army volunteer Steve Heilman collecting donations at the Sam's Club in East York on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.

With the rise in online shopping and new ways of purchasing items cashless, more shoppers don't have spare change on them.

The Salvation Army does have a solution to combat this: an online donation page.

People who wish to donate virtually can visit https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/eastern-pennsylvania/york-pa/.

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"Overall, we have really appreciated all of the people here in York County," Kim said. "They have been very generous in their donations."

Those monetary donations especially come in handy with the Salvation Army's holiday programs — including its Angel Tree campaign to provide Christmas presents to families in need.

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This year, more than 1,000 children in York County have signed up for the Angel Tree program.

"We are doing our best to make sure that we provide the toys for those children because we do think that's extremely important," Kim said. "We don't want a child to be without something for Christmas."