HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - They go hand-in-hand with the holiday season - bell ringers situated outside shopping malls and big box stores.
"The theme for Salvation Army this year is 'Rescue Christmas,'" said Major Donald Dohmann.
A perfect name since there are a few roadblocks this year on the way to helping needy families.
"The opportunity for people to walk by we anticipate will be less this Christmas season," he said.
More online shopping paired with a nationwide coin shortage means less foot traffic for those to drop donations and Black Friday likely being a bust.
"If that day is gone, that traffic is gone, and anticipation and excitement is gone, so what does that look like?" said Dohmann.
So, the Salvation Army is pivoting this year to meet the growing demand for help and to deal with the hurdles. They are now offering virtual giving options.
"On the red kettle stand itself, we are doing a QR code, Google Pay and Apple Pay," he said.
The other is the Red Kettle Challenge online.
"It is really simple - they can go online and selection the location in which they want to support," he said.
The fundraising goal this year is $450,000, and bell ringers will be out in stores starting in mid-November.
"Not only have families already struggled, then when pandemic hit, all the families now have new struggles, so the Salvation Army is working hard to make sure our Red Kettle Campaign is strong,"said Dohmann.
To donate, click here.