Just weeks after the Salvation Army released (then deleted) a contentious handbook calling on white people to tackle their “racist attitudes,” locations across the country are reporting massive shortfalls in volunteer hours and toy contributions.
The Washington Examiner reports that 20,000 volunteer hours for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign were unfulfilled this year, which typically accounts for around 33% of the charity’s overall annual donations. The organization has also reported that toy and gift contributions are down about 30% in some places.
The volunteer and donation shortages followed the removal of an internal handbook called “Let’s Talk About Racism.” The guide condemned “colorblindness” and urged white people to “evaluate racist attitudes and practices.” However, in late November, the Salvation Army defended the book, stating that it was untrue to infer that the organization believes white people should apologize for their skin tone or that America is a fundamentally racist country.salvation army racisim
The organization removed the guide from its website on November 30 and admitted that its contents may have “led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, or that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. That was never our intention, so the guide has been removed for appropriate review.”
The sensationalist claims that The Salvation Army has entered a political war are simply not true. Please see our response here: https://t.co/xnrARVTRnn
— Salvation Army USA (@SalvationArmyUS) November 27, 2021
Salvation Army Marketing Manager Angel Fields Mitchell blamed Covid-19 for the volunteer shortages. However, a recent Rasmussen survey indicated that the backlash to the group’s anti-racism handbook harmed the organization’s reputation among the public and potential donors.
According to the survey, the number of respondents who had a negative impression of the group climbed from 11% to 41% after being notified of the guide and told that the charity was “training members in the belief that America is a structurally racist society.” Additionally, the number of respondents who said they had a positive view of the organization plummeted from 81% to 41%.
In the last few weeks, leaders of local Salvation Army chapters have been vocal about the volunteer and donation shortages. Col. Cindy Foley of the NW Salvation Army Division said, “The situation is dire, and we are asking our generous supporters in the region to donate to the virtual Northwest Red Kettle, as well as make donations at every physical kettle in whatever way you can.”
The Salvation Army in Montgomery, Alabama, claimed it could only staff a dozen of its 40 red kettle sites due to a staffing deficit and had to hire people to make up the difference.
In Pennsylvania, Lt. Ismael Ortiz explained, “The Red Kettle Campaign is Salvation Army’s biggest campaign. It’s our biggest campaign here in Wilkes-Barre. It’s where we raise the most funds for our entire year. This year, we’re really having trouble getting volunteers to stand kettles for us.”