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Salvation Army seeing greater need during COVID-19

The Salvation Army of Bell County needs volunteers, donations and finances to keep up with community needs.

TEMPLE, Texas — The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign has become a staple of the holiday season. But what was once the busiest time of the year has become a time of uncertainty as more people go online to avoid crowds during the pandemic. 

Salvation Army Lt. David Beckham told 6 News they are still looking for volunteers to ring, but they don't know what that campaign will bring in. 

"Not only are we are wondering what that's going to look like but the retail stores are wondering what that is going to look like," Beckham said. "The kettle season is a huge program every year and a great bit of the money we need to fund our programs and services throughout the year."

Volunteers can register to ring at this website, and more people willing to come out will help as the Salvation Army looks at their best strategy for the season. The money is used for many programs that include helping people with utilities, helping with rent, tackling homelessness and other programs. 

Beckham said homelessness is also on the rise and the Salvation Army will need more support for their shelters. He said the Bell County operation has 70 beds and they are constantly full. 

"We moved two people out today into their own home and those beds, I guarantee you, will be filled back up tonight or tomorrow morning," Beckham said. 

Yet another program that needs help is the Angel Tree program. Beckham said they had nearly 1000 angels in need of help last year and in 2020 that has increased to 1200. He said the toys will be distributed in Temple and in Killeen.

Any extra toys are given to Toys for Tots, churches, or other organizations. Anyone wanting to volunteer for Angel Tree can email Beckham directly at David.Beckham@uss.salvationarmy.org. 

The public can also donate toys, clothing, and money directly to the Salvation Army of Bell County at 419 W Avenue G in Temple.

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