Red Kettle Drive may be quieter this year

Technology for touchless pay will also be used

The cheery jingle of Christmas bells at the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Drive in Lincoln, Boyle, and Mercer counties is about to kick off the holiday season. But there’s a good chance fewer bells will be heard because fewer volunteers are willing to stand by the kettles during the current pandemic situation.
And fewer Red Kettles mean the Salvation Army’s only public fundraiser could adversely affect its budget for next year.
At the Danville Salvation Army Office, Lt. Lindsey Galbeas said “We are trying to be as optimistic as possible, given the climate, economically and socially, and what’s going on with the pandemic.”
She said long-time office manager and Kettle Coordinator Dana Long told her, “COVID is really going to affect us this year.” Galabeas said Long has scheduled the kettle drives for many years, “And for her to notice and say that early on, that does give us cause to worry a little bit.”
She added, “But at the end of the day, you just hope for the best. You hope that the generosity and the spirit of Christmas really come through and that we’re able to have a successful kettle drive anyway. … We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re certainly hoping for the best and we will plan accordingly.”
Galabeas said when the totals are added up, “If there is less money than we’re expecting, then we’ll just redo our budget. It’s just one of those things we have to work with.”
Galabeas said the kettles will be at the “familiar places” like the Walmarts in Stanford, Danville, and Harrodsburg; Kroger in Danville and Harrodsburg; and Hobby Lobby.
The bell-ringing volunteer roster at Danville’s Kroger is nearly full, Galabeas said, which is great news. However, the other locations have many open slots.
To help protect the volunteers, they will be provided with PPE, hand sanitizers, cleaning cloths to wipe off the bells and kettles, and trash cans to dispose of the wipes, she said.
Plus, the Red Kettle Drive is also embracing more technology for touchless donations, she explained.
At each kettle, there will be a QR code in plain sight on the signboard. All a person has to do is scan the code with their smartphone’s camera and they’ll automatically be directed to the Salvation Army’s website where a “Donation” button is accessible to continue the payment process.
Each kettle will also be set up to receive donations from a person’s electronic wallet, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, Galabeas said. All they have to do is “tap to pay.”
Or course, anyone who wants to donate to the Red Kettle drive is welcome to send a check to P.O. Box 417, Danville, KY 40423, she added.
Galabeas said the Danville Salvation Army offers a wide variety of programs and services to residents in Lincoln, Boyle, Casey, Garrard, and Mercer counties, including emergency clothing vouchers, food pantry, rental assistance, and utility assistance, as well as their after school programs and summer day camp for students.
The Red Kettle Drive officially began on Friday, Nov. 27, and will continue through Christmas Eve.
This year’s goal is $100,000 she said. “It’s a little ambitious. But we’re going to shoot for the stars.”

SO YOU KNOW
To sign up to ring the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive, call (859) 236-4473.