“America is an incredibly generous nation and philanthropy is alive and well, despite the current economic conditions impacting so many,” said Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, national commander of the Salvation Army, Religion News Service reports.
“We are grateful for every donor, volunteer, and corporate partner for supporting the Salvation Army’s mission by giving more than ever during a time when some have so little … .”
Bell ringers set up the signature red kettles in front of an estimated 25,000 locations on Thanksgiving Day. The Salvation Army reported a 7 percent increase in giving over the $130 million record of 2008.
The Red Kettle campaign, the longest running annual fundraising campaign in the United States, helps the Salvation Army provide more than 28 million Americans with food, shelter, rent, and other assistance each year.
Retail chain’s Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations partnered with the Salvation Army to raise 29 percent of the total amount of the campaign. The Wal-Mart Foundation also made a direct donation of $1.25 million.
Kroger stores in nearly 2,000 locations accounted for $11.3 million or eight percent of the total. In addition to hosting kettles, Target stores teamed up with toy maker Hasbro, Inc., and donated 5 percent of some sales of selected Hasbro toys to the Salvation Army. Target donated a total of more than $1.25 million.