After you have your traditional Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, and then — if you enjoy football — settle in to watch the Dallas Cowboys host their traditional Thanksgiving Day game, this year against the Buffalo Bills — you’ll see another tradition.

When singer Ellie Goulding performs at halftime of the game, it will also serve as the kickoff to the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign, which helps provide shelter and meals for the homeless and hungry, Christmas toys for children and social service programs to millions of people in need year-round. So you’ll start hearing the bells in a couple days, too.

But tradition will meet technology this year — instead of dropping what cash you have into the kettle, you’ll be able to make a donation with your smartphone and an app if carrying cash isn’t an option.
Donors this year will be able to use Apple Pay or Google Pay, or scan a QR code if their phones are older.

From home, donations can be made by texting “KETTLES” and an amount to 91999; visiting’ or ask Amazon Alexa by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specify the amount.

The Salvation Army tested the cashless option by smartphone last year in Kansas City, New York, Dallas and Seattle, and while it didn’t raise a large amount of the $142.7 million raised during the 2018 campaign, it did raise awareness that people can now donate without cash, laying a groundwork for a groundswell this year.

And it will help. The Salvation Army had a big presence in helping victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, aside from the usual efforts of helping provide food, shelter and clothing to those in need.
The Red Kettle Campaign, which begins for the 129th time on Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas Eve, is the largest and longest-running fundraiser of its kind. It raised $142.7 million during the 2018 campaign.