© 2022 WGLT
NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Salvation Army Rolls Out New Way To Donate At The Kettle

Two women stand near a red kettle.
Eric Stock
The Salvation Army's Angie Bubon, left, and bellringer Gennette Bramlette greet customers outside a Jewel-Osco store in Normal.

The Salvation Army’s bell ringer campaign is well under way, and you may notice a new addition to the red kettles.

With the popularity of apps like Venmo, the Salvation Army is utilizing new technology to allow people a chance to donate with their phones.

“If they’ve got Apple Pay and Google Pay already set up it’s really simple,” said Angie Bubon, development director for the Bloomington Salvation Army. “They can either scan the QR code (on the kettle), or some phones you just put your phone near the tag, and it will automatically pop up a link.”

From there, all the donor has to do is select an amount to give and enter a phone code.

A woman holds her phone to a QR code.
Credit Eric Stock / WGLT
The Salvation Army's Angie Bubon demonstrates how to make a donation through Apple Pay.

Bubon said that the Salvation Army hopes that this new option will help make up for lower donations in the past few years. The Salvation Army of Bloomington’s $520,000 goal was nearly met last year. This year, Bubon hopes this new option will mean reaching or exceeding that number.

“We know it’s new technology so it might take some time to catch on and get people using it, but we certainly think that it will be a way that we can see some increase in donations at the kettles as people carry less cash.”

Bubon also said that aside from not carrying physical cash, many people aren’t making the trek to a physical store. More people shopping online means less people walking by a red kettle. She said you can still give whether through the Salvation Army’s website or through a mail donation.

“There’s lots of ways to give and we hope people no matter how they’re shopping this holiday season will think about giving to Salvation Army in whatever way works for them.”

Bubon added that around $300,000 of donations from last year came through the internet and mail.

Twenty-one kettles can be found throughout McLean County after Thanksgiving, all with the sticker to allow phone donations. They will be out until Christmas Eve.

The final tally for donations will be announced at the end of January.

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
Sean Newgent is a senior journalism major at Illinois State University. He's an intern for the GLT newsroom.
Related Content