CLEVELAND (WJW)– The needs have never been greater this year, however, many charitable organizations are reporting more challenges and less giving because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This year in our red kettle campaign, we are down 50 percent,” said Major Thomas Applin, with the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland.
The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland has seen firsthand the impact of the pandemic on charitable giving.
“I noticed that there are people who are walking way out and around the kettles. People are still afraid of COVID. They want to be careful and that plays a big part in why we can’t get paid workers or volunteers to be bell ringers,” Applin said.
According to Applin, their annual kettle campaign is behind $400,000 with only two weeks left.
The local needs for their food programs has increased over 174 percent since March.
“We’ve been packing toys all week long for more than 4,500 children in the greater Cleveland area. That is more than 2,000 families we are serving,” Applin said.
Similar fundraising challenges for a group of Bay High School students in the Student of the Year Campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“We had two girls in the grade above us suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Right away, I saw the disproportionate impact these diseases were having on our school and young people in general,” said Cooper Lyons, senior and co-leader of the team.
Last year, the students raised $164,000 for the LLS. This year, they’ve had to cancel several large in-person fundraisers, even turning their annual “Shave to Save” fundraiser into a virtual event.
“That’s usually a large scale fundraiser for us. A five-figure fundraiser so we’ve had to adjust and overcome it. That’s why our team is named Team Overcome. We are overcoming the obstacles of COVID, as well as cancer,” Lyons said.
Many charitable organizations are struggling as donations decrease while the demand increases. They are hoping people find ways to give back this holiday season.
“Our ministry to the community goes all year round. So, it’s critical for us to raise the dollars during November and December when we are most well known and that carries us through the rest of the year,” Applin said.
For those looking to support the Salvation Army, you can donate here.
People can also send in checks made out to: Team Overcome/Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Bay High School, 29230 Wolf Road, Bay Village, Ohio 44140.
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