The Salvation Army started the holiday season early for the first time in the organization's history by kicking off their Red Kettle fundraising campaign nearly two months in advance.
In an updated effort called Rescue Christmas, the Salvation Army will begin its typical fundraising campaign Monday, according to the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division.
Some Salvation Army locations across the Chicago area have seen increased requests for food, financial assistance and housing this year, with projections that the need will continue to climb, the organization said.
Peter Mount, captain for the Salvation Army, said the organization is already seeing a 500% increase in need this year.
"One in eight families don't have enough foot on the table," Mount said. "Rent and utility assistance with folks losing their jobs, money is becoming very tight."
Though Chicago residents will not see Red Kettles until November, the Salvation Army asked that people make donations online at www.SalArmyChicago.org
The Salvation Army reminded in a release that 70% of the its donations are made during the Red Kettle fundraising campaign, with organization's goal for Chicago this year at $2.5 million.
"I think the biggest thing to put a smile on someone's face is to be a blessing and I think we can all use a little bit of that right now," Katie Blue, who donated to the campaign, said.
The Red Kettle campaign dates back to 1891 in San Francisco, the Salvation Army said. The tradition was brought to the Chicago area about 30 years ago in McHenry County.
The campaign is part of the organization’s larger Christmas fundraising effort for social service programs that include providing shelter, food and after-school programs.