red kettle

A Salvation Army red kettle. (John Schultz / Quad-City Times file photo)

The Salvation Army of the Quad-Cities raised $740,622 this holiday season and gave toys and food baskets to 1,494 families.

The organization’s Red Kettle Campaign passed its fundraising goal of $725,000 through direct mail, red kettle donations and year-end contributions, The Salvation Army announced Monday.

The fund drive generates about 60 percent of the local Salvation Army’s operating budget that is generated from public support. The funds help Quad-Citians in need with shelter, food, clothing and other basic human needs.

“The Salvation Army’s work is simply not possible without the people of this community who believe in what we do,” Major Gary Felton, Quad-Cities coordinator, said.

Volunteers gave more than 2,000 hours to make the seasonal programs possible.

More than 7,000 toys, such as games, books and stuffed animals, were donated through the Angel Tree program. Through the Christmas distribution program, 2,143 children from 1,036 families received gifts. Food boxes were distributed to an additional 458 households without children. Combined, the agency distributed food and gifts to 1,494 families, totaling 8,623 people in need.

“We are grateful to everyone who supported this year’s Christmas program, either by supporting the red kettles, purchasing gifts for families, volunteering your precious time, supporting our efforts by spreading the word and encouraging others to participate or praying for the program itself and those we have the honor of serving,” Felton said.

Two match programs contributed to the campaign’s success, he said. Hiland Toyota made a large gift that was matched through the Toyota Dealer Match Program. For the second year in a row, Von Maur matched all donations placed in the kettles at NorthPark and SouthPark malls on Dec. 22.

The Red Kettle Campaign was started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891 and has grown into one of the most recognizable charitable outreach efforts in the country.

By the numbers

Red Kettle Campaign goal: $725,000

Amount raised: $740,622

Volunteer hours: 2,000

Donated toys: 7,000

Families helped: 1,494

Source: The Salvation Army of the Quad-Cities