Initiative to Help Provide a Cheerful Christmas to Local Children

Kansas City, MO – Walmart and The Salvation Army announced today that they are partnering this Christmas season to help provide new toys and coats to local children on Christmas as part of the 122nd Annual Red Kettle Campaign. The “Fill the Truck” toy drive will be hosted at 23 metro Kansas City Walmart stores, along with more than 2,500 other Walmart stores across the country, on Saturday, December 8, 2012.

In addition, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will host The Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season from Friday, November 23 to Monday, December 24, to collect much-needed funds to support the Army’s social service at Christmas and year-round. Last year, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores helped The Salvation Army raise more than $46 million nationally—nearly one-third of the record $147.6 million raised. All donations made to the red kettles will remain in the Kansas City metro area and help The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to families in need.

The “Fill the Truck” event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m.  on Saturday, December 8, and is open to the general public who would like to donate new toys and coats to children who take part in The Salvation Army programs year-round. Upon arrival, shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the collection bin at the store. Once the donation receptacle is full, YRC Worldwide, based in Overland Park, Kansas, will collect all the gifts and bring them to The Salvation Army to distribute to local children in need.

Notably, 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need from families with children due to the recession in 2011, according to “Growing up in a Downturn,” a Salvation Army report from earlier this year. The report also found that 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs. As a result of the recession’s lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue with this Christmas season.

From its humble origin as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public’s nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.