The donation drive, dubbed “August Match” by its organizers, will help the Christian charity to support more of its local patrons in dire need of a helping hand during tough economic circumstances.
The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida, based in Jacksonville, announced the anonymous donor’s generous pledge on Facebook. “We can’t stress enough, we are facing a serious situation here in Northeast Florida,” they wrote on Aug. 1. “Right now, we’re experiencing a rise in the number of people needing help with essentials like food, utilities, rent, and clothing.
“There is no better time than now to give,” they added. “A gift sent today of $25 will become $50 and go twice as far to help local families.”
In a statement to Action News Jax, a Salvation Army representative said that the Jacksonville branch hopes their local community will make the most of this generous offer by giving whatever they can. “Especially during this unprecedented time,” they said, “the needs are much greater for those families impacted.”
The donor’s August 2020 pledge is the single largest monetary gift given to the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida in recent years.
In 2018, another anonymous donor matched all donations given throughout the month of April up to $20,000, reports the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; and in August 2016, a board member from the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida did the very same thing.
And in 2014, an anonymous donor gifted a $10,000 check to the Northeast Florida branch, the largest-ever single donation to the charity’s annual Christmastime Red Kettle Campaign.
The Salvation Army’s collective body of 63,000 U.S. employees continues to serve the community during the ongoing pandemic. According to the charity’s most recently collated statistics, one in six U.S. residents are living in poverty and over half a million are counted as homeless; the plight of these already vulnerable people is only exacerbated as the economy remains partially closed.
People living in poverty lacking access to both information and crucial resources are affected most by the shutdown. “This is where we come in,” the Salvation Army’s Northeast Florida division states on its website. “This is who we serve.”
In collaboration with local, state, and federal government and health authorities, the Salvation Army is putting special hygiene and cleaning protocols in place to help keep their service users safe. Every penny received in donations allows them to continue providing vital support to vulnerable communities, even while person-to-person contact is restricted.
In addition to their 2020 “August Match” drive, the Jacksonville branch also ran a donation collection, “Stuff the Bus,” between Aug. 7 and 9, inviting Walmart customers to purchase requested items for kids and drop them off at Salvation Army collection bins in front of selected stores.
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