Monday, December 29, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Monday, Dec. 29---Salvation Army Christmas Miracle


Overwhelming Massachusetts Generosity a Bright Spot in Plummeting Economy

BOSTON – (December 29, 2008) – Salvation Army officials are calling it a Christmas Miracle. In the midst of a tough economic recession, mounting job losses and the soaring cost of food, Massachusetts citizens have opened their hearts and wallets to those most in need. The Salvation Army's Red Kettles, which began a full week earlier this year due to the economic crisis, have raised significantly more than they did last year on a week-to-week comparison. The goal of raising $3.5 million is in sight. The Army also reports seeing similar generosity reflected in donors' response to the Christmas direct mail appeal.

"The economic crisis has hit so many people hard, and to see this outpouring of generosity by local residents, businesses and other community organizations in this time of great need is truly a miracle," said Major William Bode, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army's Massachusetts Division. "Requests for help this year have risen dramatically. The Salvation Army's mission is to aid all those in need, and with thanks for the overwhelming support in Massachusetts, we are firmly committed to turn no one away."

The Kettles are a critical source of funding for The Salvation Army's services and programs throughout the year, including soup kitchens, food pantries and other vital programs for families, youth and the elderly. Money raised from last year's kettles played a direct role in The Salvation Army's ability to serve more than one million meals to hundreds of thousands of residents across the state.

"We would like to thank our bell ringing volunteers and the millions of people throughout Massachusetts who generously donated to our red kettles," said Major Raphael Jackson, General Secretary of The Salvation Army in Massachusetts. "In these tough times we must be proactive, and The Salvation Army is more determined than ever to reach all those in need – not just this holiday season, but throughout the New Year."

Already this winter season, The Salvation Army has seen requests for assistance spike – especially at local food pantries. Officials worry that once the moratorium on home foreclosures ends at the start of the New Year, and job loss continues to rise, need will become even more dramatic in January, February and March.

"Our biggest fear is that the generous spirit of giving which has helped sustain so many families through the Christmas season will be unable to keep up with the demand for help in 2009," said Major Bode. "People who never imagined they would need assistance continue to come forward seeking help from The Salvation Army. Our sincere hope is that the miraculous response we've seen at our kettles this year will carry over in spirit into the next."

In fiscal year 2008, The Salvation Army provided food, clothing or utility assistance to more than 320,000 people across Massachusetts.

For more information on Massachusetts Salvation Army services, please visit or contact the State Divisional Headquarters at (617) 542-5420 X 410.

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