By CBSBoston.com Staff

WALTHAM (CBS) — Local comedian Lenny Clarke traded the mic for a big bell on Thursday to promote the Salvation Army, at a time when the charity organization is struggling to fill volunteer shifts and raise money to help Massachusetts communities in need.

Clarke was outside Pizzi Farm in Waltham, taking selfies with fans and encouraging people to donate whatever they could.

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“These people do so much for so many,” Clarke said of the Corps. “They’re wonderful people and they’re always helping others.”

The Waltham Corps of the Salvation Army says it provides meals, groceries and tutoring for children in need, as well as toys and gifts during the holidays.

Comedian Lenny Clarke rings a Salvation Army bell in Waltham (WBZ-TV)

But Red Kettle donations are down over 20% statewide compared to last year. The organization’s goal is to raise $3 million through kettle donations in Massachusetts.

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The holiday season is the biggest fundraising opportunity for the Salvation Army. But the Corps said COVID-19 worries have kept many older adults from volunteering.

The Salvation Army says 82 cents of every dollar goes right back to the community where it was donated, which means some communities will be shortchanged in funding their programs.

“There will be gaps in coverage,” Major Walter Rivers with the Haverhill Salvation Army told WBZ-TV in November. “We won’t be able to raise as much money. That’s less money that we can provide for service. So it’s a domino effect.”

Donations can be made online to a virtual kettle at https://salarmy.us/MassRedKettle.

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CBSBoston.com Staff