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Kroger partners with Salvation Army to help needy at holidays

Kroger and The Salvation Army are teaming up to provide for families in economic distress this holiday season.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign collects funds used to provide food, coats and even toys for the homeless or impoverished.

“All the money from the red kettles goes, first of all, to fund our programs at Christmas and supplement our Angel Tree program and Christmas stockings,” Jonathan Haskill, Salvation Army spokesman, said.

“It really goes to fund our programs and services here in the Knoxville area all-year round.

“All the money donated here in Knoxville stays in the Knoxville area,” he added.

The Salvation Army has partnered with Kroger for more than 30 years. In 2007, Kroger and The Salvation Army collected about $915,000.

“We’re very happy about their partnership,” Haskill said.

According to Haskill, about 83 cents of every dollar goes directly to Salvation Army programs or services.

“We’re always committed to doing anything in our community we can to help out those in need,” Kroger Marketplace manager Phil Cagney said.

“We think The Salvation Army is just one of those organizations that definitely takes care of the folks that are in need.

“They do an excellent job identifying the need and making sure those resources get to the people who have the most need,” he added.

Cagney also mentioned Salvation Army angel trees in all Kroger stores.

“That’s a $25 angel that a customer can purchase … and then that $25 also goes toward a gift for one of the families they’ve designated in The Salvation Army to help them buy things they need for Christmas, whether that be food or whether that be toys or clothing,” Cagney said.

“That’s something we’ve done now for three years.

“We do that in partnership with the Red Kettle program,” he added.

“Kroger’s been a real big partner for us this year … we normally go directly to businesses and churches to try to get sponsors to collect angels, but Kroger really pursued us,” Haskill said.

“That’s something we don’t do very many places … the only place in Knoxville where Salvation Army has angel trees is at Kroger,” he added.

The recent economic downturn has affected The Salvation Army’s needs for donations.

“I know The Salvation Army’s need is great, as it is every year, and I’m sure the need is even greater this year,” Cagney said.

“The needs are definitely increased … we’ve seen an increase in about 25 percent year-to-date, people [are] just asking for assistance,” Haskill said.

“About one out of every three clients we see come in, we’re seeing for the first time.

“A lot of people are asking for help who have never had to ask for help before,” he added.

While Salvation Army needs more funds this year, Haskill said giving had not decreased.

“The people of Knoxville are being just as generous as they’ve always been. Our need is greater, but the people of Knoxville are responding,” Haskill said.

Haskill also said, besides donations, bell ringer volunteers are needed as well. If volunteers aren’t found, The Salvation Army must hire bell ringers, which cuts into the amount of money that can go to Salvation Army programs.

Donations can be made to any red kettle at area Kroger stores, or at


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