By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) — The Salvation Army Red Kettle Bells are a familiar sound during the holidays, but Major Wendy Kountz says due to COVID 19, shoppers will hear less ringing this year.

“It’s going to look much different this year and people are going to see fewer kettles out, unfortunately,” Kountz said.

The pandemic has forced many retail partners to close their doors. Now they are deeply concerned about reaching their $2.5 million Red Kettle Bell goal.

“Some stores have gone out of business so that’s the reality of what we’re seeing with COVID,” she said.

While donations locations may decrease, the need to help families during the holiday season is on the rise.

“We are seeing the need up about 155% increase this year and we are even seeing some people that previously were donors are now asking us for assistance,” Kountz said.

The Salvation Army recently launched a strong virtual campaign called “Rescue Christmas.”

“We started our season earlier this year in the middle of September with our fundraising where normally we don’t start until the end of November,” Kountz explained.

They are also accepting credit cards, Google and Apple pay donations online but nothing will replace the sound of the bells.

“We still will have Kettles outside many of the retail stores and they’re taking the safety precautions to wipe them down in between donations and follow all the COVID protocols.”

They just hope people will still be in the giving spirit this holiday season.

Paul Burton

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