(WWJ) If you're outside a favorite grocery or big box store and hear the sound of bells, you're not hallucinating -- It's Red Kettle time, two months earlier than normal.
The Salvation Army is kicking of its annual Red Kettle campaign today, early due to the expected shortages brought on by coronavirus budget constraints and the overwhelming need of so many people who have lost jobs.
Still, the organization is hoping those who can give will and they'll be able to raise $8 million to help families who are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Executives say the need is "greater than ever."
While you won't hear people ringing bells or see the red kettles outside stores in metro Detroit until mid-November, you can make a donation through the Salvation Army's website, by texting or by calling 877-SAL-MICH. Some states will bring bell ringers out as early as today, but it's up to local chapters to decide when to start that leg of the campaign.
The goal is to "rescue Christmas," with the Salvation Army saying even with this increased time span it expects to see up to a 50% decrease in donations.
“Our ability to raise vital funds to serve those in need this Christmas and beyond is at risk,” said Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, the charity's national commander, in a news release. “We need everyone who has the capacity to come alongside us and ensure that the holiday season is bright for millions in need.”
The organization said requests for help are at all-time high and it estimates it could serve up to 155% more people this year. At Christmas, the Salvation Army does everything from providing food for the elderly to putting presents under the tree of families who otherwise wouldn't have Christmas.