Some officials with The Salvation Army have reported “dire” toy and donation shortages in regional areas.
Colonel Cindy Foley with the Northwest Salvation Army Division told Fox 13 in Seattle that the “situation is dire” because of “fewer people donating at our virtual and physical kettles.”
“There are many reasons why both financial and toy donations are down this year, not the least of which is likely pandemic fatigue and concerns about employment and the future,” Foley said.
Because The Salvation Army is a decentralized organization and its annual report isn’t released until January, a Salvation Army media relations person said “giving is strong” overall, while at the same time there may be areas where there are shortages, but that there’s no way to determine at this stage what the final number will be in toys and donations, and what factors affect those numbers.
Major James Betts, the New Jersey Divisional Commander, told the New Jersey online news platform NJ.com that the shortage of toys had been anticipated due to the pandemic, inflation, and supply-chain issues.
“We recognize the reasons for the need, but the need is enormous,” he said.
The news outlet reported that toy donations were down from 100,000 to 3,000.
In 2020, The Salvation Army raised $557.3 million, an increase of 27 percent over the 2019 campaign’s total of $437.7 million, according to The NonProfit Times.
The Salvation Army didn’t respond immediately to a request for more information on the shortage.
‘Let’s Talk About Racism’
In November, The Salvation Army removed a document it said was misinterpreted to fit allegations that the organization had subscribed to critical race theory (CRT).
CRT is a quasi-Marxist philosophy that defines society as a class struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, specifically labeling white people as the oppressors and all other races as the oppressed.
While there was no clear audience for the document, its content addressed issues of racism and how to discuss them with others, encouraging the reader to “spend time repenting on behalf of the Church and asking God to open hearts and minds to the issue of racism.”
The document was approved by the organization’s general in April 2021 and published by the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission.
The Salvation Army issued a press release in which the organization said that its guide was intended to be used as a voluntary resource that wasn’t meant to tell people “how to think.” It added that the message in the guide had been misinterpreted to support other agendas.
In an interview with CBN News, Kenneth Hodder, the national commander of The Salvation Army said, “We endorse no theory, no philosophy, other than that found in the scriptures.”
When asked if the removal of the document should be viewed as an admission of wrongdoing, Hodder said, “The Salvation Army normally publishes discussion guides for its people to help prepare them to respond to the issues that they encounter in the world,” he said. “Clearly that document was causing confusion amongst our people, and externally.”
He said the document was removed “for review” to be replaced by a document that will be more “closely aligned” with the organization’s mission statement.
When asked about the abandonment of doners and if any had returned, Hodder said that those being served are the emphasis of The Salvation Army.
“Whenever there is a drop in that campaign, it impacts people who rely upon The Salvation Army, not only at Christmas but throughout the year,” Hodder said, adding that the organization is working with supporters to “explain the situation.”
Hodder said the organization wouldn’t take positions on social theories such as CRT because “once you go down that road,” or “bullied into making statements that are perceived as being on one side of the political spectrum as opposed to another, it’s impossible to extricate yourself.”