CLOSE The Salvation Army is facing an increased demand amid COVID-19, so it will start collecting donations in its iconic red kettles earlier than ever. USA TODAYThe Salvation Army started its annual holiday fundraising campaign earlier than ever in an attempt to “rescue Christmas.”Facing increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans suffer high unemployment, the nation’s largest social services organization said its bell-ringing volunteers started collecting donations in its iconic red kettles Monday instead of waiting until closer to Thanksgiving as in past years.Amid a surge of store closings, a decline in foot traffic to retail locations and a nationwide coin shortage, consumers are carrying less cash, so the Salvation Army expects to see up to a 50% decrease in fundraising.Save better, spend better:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here“Our ability to raise vital funds to serve those in need this Christmas and beyond is at risk,” Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, the faith-based charity’s national commander, said in a news release. “We need everyone who has the capacity to come alongside us and ensure that the holiday season is bright for millions in need.”Though the campaign officially kicked off Monday, not all red kettles will be out across the nation immediately as it’s a local decision.Holiday shopping 2020: Home

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