Marquette, MI (December 5, 2012) – Walmart and The Salvation Army today announced a partnership this Christmas season to help provide new toys and coats to local children as part of the 122nd Annual Red Kettle Campaign. The “Fill the Truck” toy drive will be hosted at the Marquette Township store on Saturday, December 8. That same day, more than 2,500 other Walmart stores across the country will hold a similar event.
“The Salvation Army is excited to partner with Walmart. Each year, Walmart is there to help us meet demands and provide a special Christmas to families and individuals who may not otherwise have a Christmas to celebrate,” said Captain Joel Arthur of The Salvation Army in Marquette.
The “Fill the Truck” event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. It is open to anyone who would like to donate new toys and coats to children who take part in The Salvation Army programs year-round. Upon arrival, shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the Truck at the store. Once the donation receptacle is full, The Salvation Army will bring the donations to 1009 W. Baraga Avenue in Marquette. The gifts will then be distributed to local children in need. The collection is expected to provide gifts to more than 500 children.
“This holiday season, we’re proud to work with The Salvation Army and help provide basic need items like food and clothes to our neighbors in need,” said Ross Rosenow, Walmart store manager. “With strong support from our generous shoppers, we know we can bring smiles to more children this Christmas.”
This year, the Walmart Foundation also made a $1 million donation to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The donation will be split among the four Salvation Army Territories and support feeding programs, including meal programs for youths. Last year, The Salvation Army helped serve 24,000 meals to local children and adults in need.
Notably, 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need from families with children due to the recession in 2011, according to “Growing up in a Downturn,” a Salvation Army report from earlier this year. The report also found that 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs. As a result of the recession’s lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue with this Christmas season.
In addition, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will host The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season through December 24, to collect much-needed funds to support the Army’s social service at Christmas and year-round. Last year in Marquette, the kettles at Walmart helped The Salvation Army raise $25,270.38 locally, and more than $46 million nationally—nearly one-third of the record $147.6 million raised. All donations made to the red kettles remains in the vicinity of the store where the donation was made. The funds are used by the Salvation Army to provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to more than 25,000 people a year.
From its humble origin as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public’s nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.