WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With three months until Christmas, the Salvation Army is getting into the holiday spirit. However, things are going to be a bit different this year because of COVID-19.
The Salvation Army of Cape Fear continues to work hard on filling their food pantry with the new social distancing restrictions in place.
Every year, they see our community’s need for food and supplies increase by about 50%.
With businesses shut down, COVID-19 restrictions, and limits on storefront bell rings, Maj. Mark Craddock with the Salvation Army says they could see up to 50% decrease in money, food, and toy donations.
Even the all day One-Day Blitz that WWAY, the Salvation Army, and Krispy Kreme partner for will have to be put on hold due to crowding concerns.
“Even though we can’t have a One-Day Blitz, our experience tells us that the Cape Fear community is very generous,” Maj. Craddock said. “They’ll step up to the plate, so we don’t have a whole lot of concern, but it is going to be a whole lot different than what we’ve normally been used to.”
Maj. Craddock says the Salvation Army plans on partnering with local businesses, churches, and organization to keep the holiday spirit alive, but just making a few changes.
“For a number of reasons,” he said. “That is, some of the stores that we put our red Christmas kettles aren’t in business anymore. Some of them have their own COVID-19 protocols that don’t have as many Salvation Army bell ringers to be in front of their stores.”
There is an ongoing coin shortage as well. Maj. Craddock says they will be testing a new app that you can download and donate to a specific kettle on your phone.
Some things will remain the same despite the pandemic like collecting money, cans, and setting out angel trees. The Angle Tree Program allows you to adopt a child in need and provide them with clothing and/or toy donations.
“Every one of those is a real kid in Cape Fear,” Maj. Craddock said. “We take that child, and their parent signs them up, here’s there clothing sizes, here’s what they want for Christmas. We put it on a little card, and then we hang it on the angel tree, and then you adopt that kid for Christmas.”
They also plan to set up trees in businesses and churches around the Wilmington area.