BATON ROUGE, La. — The Salvation Army says it will have to leave roughly 25 kettles in storage this winter because there are not enough people willing to man the usual number of donation stations in the Baton Rouge area.
Bell-ringers will set up outside about 35 stores when the local Red Kettle drive begins Nov. 20.
“It’s a struggle right now,” Maj. Don Tekautz, who heads the Baton Rouge Salvation Army, said. “We’re struggling just hiring employees to be in our family store to keep it up and running too.”
Tekautz says the local shelter is full almost every night, and more people are asking the Salvation Army for help with rent and utilities than any time since the 2016 floods.
“You already think about people who are living on a margin who are in trouble,” he said. “We’re facing now, families who have never come to us for help.”
Tekautz says demand for social services and mental health assistance has increased by 155% since 2019. The Salvation Army aims to raise about $220,000 during its kettle drive this winter.