The Salvation Army unveils giant red kettle in NYC as need for support services remains high

December 1, 2020

Photo courtesy of The Salvation Army Greater New York Division

With the need for support services at an all-time high coupled with a lack of foot traffic at retail stores due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Salvation Army has had to think outside the kettle this holiday season. While typically the charity group relies on its bell-ringers stationed outside of stores with red kettles to raise money for those in need, this year the Salvation Army is calling for digital donations. To bring attention to its online fundraising campaign, the group unveiled on Tuesday a giant 32-foot red kettle in Times Square.

The massive seven-foot red kettle hangs from a stand that measures 32 feet tall and 16 feet wide. Fitting in with the bright lights of Times Square, the kettle has been outfitted with sparkling LED lights. “The dazzling kettle was designed to amaze passersby and literally stop them in their tracks to make a donation,” a press release reads.

An interactive text-to-donate feature will trigger lights and bell sounds. And while the oversized kettle is meant to encourage digital donations, in-person cash contributions will also be accepted on-site. It will be staffed by 24-hour security, according to the organization.

Starting on Tuesday, the kettle will debut in Times Square and then move to the Meatpacking District on 9th Avenue and 14th Street, Madison Square Park, Astor Place, and then return to Times Square from December 21 through December 25.

Food insecurity has increased in all five boroughs because of the pandemic. The Salvation Army Greater New York Division said it has provided more than 6 million meals to those in need and the organization projects that 6.6 million people will need help in some way during the next six weeks.

“The Salvation Army has one mission: to do the most good every single day. This year, the challenge is greater than ever before, and we are taking giant steps to meet it,” Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Fernandez said in a press release. “We are placing our Giant Red Kettle in the middle of Times Square as a beacon to help feed, shelter, and provide a Merry Christmas to thousands of New Yorkers struck hard by COVID-19. This will be a new tradition to bring hope and to help those in need.”

The traveling NYC red kettle is part of the Salvation Army’s 2020 Rescue Christmas Campaign, an effort to provide hot meals, coats, children’s toys, and more to those hurting during the holidays.

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