Bell ringers for the Salvation Army have been out since Nov. 15, ringing bells and collecting donations.
The local Salvation Army in Frederick County set a goal of $130,000 for the season. But the leader of the organization is worried that the organization might not make the goal this year.
Salvation Army can start ringing bells two weeks before Thanksgiving. With the turkey day later this year, the nonprofit lost five days to stand outside of the stores, collecting donations. Chris Raymer, a lieutenant with the Salvation Army, said that his group is $10,000 to $12,000 behind due to the five lost days.
“But I’m not letting it get to me,” he said.
The Salvation Army provides emergency financial assistance, he said. And although there have been complaints about the nonprofit, Raymer said it serves all people without discrimination.
Prior to Black Friday, when the Salvation Army starts ringing at all their locations, the Frederick chapter pulled in $2,000 a day. The weekends are busiest, he said, and he expected a good Black Friday weekend.
There are 20 locations across the county, most of them are in the city of Frederick.
This year, there is a new twist to the Salvation Army. Instead of doing just the traditional cash donation, people can use their phones or smart watches to pay via Google or Apple pay.
Each location will have a sticker. People can use their phone cameras, in some models, or a QR code reader to scan the sticker, which will bring up a donation page. Or the person can bump the phone against the sticker, Raymer said.
If they do not want to use Apple or Google pay, people can still use cash. The traditional cash option is still popular, he said. But credit cards are still not accepted, he said.
“We found it not to be cost effective over the years,” he said.
The Apple and Google pay stickers are just stickers, he said, and they are cheap to distribute. So far, only a couple people have used it, so it is too early to determine any trends, Raymer said.
“It gives people a new way of giving,” he said.