CONCORD — The state chapter of the Salvation Army kicked off its annual Christmas Kettle campaign with a digital twist as all the receptacles will be equipped to receive payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay with someone's cell phone.

Concord Corps Officer Maj. Richard Starkey said this change is aimed at boosting donations because so many people even during the holiday season don't carry cash with them.

"If you have the app on your phone all you have to do is bump up against the smart chip that all our kettles will have and you can make the donation," Starkey said.  "If you don't have the app installed you can still make a donation with your phone on the spot; it just requires you to punch in a little more information."

Gov. Chris Sununu said he looks forward to taking part in the donation drive and said this change is welcome for the 21st Century.

"We have a little shorter season with the late Thanksgiving holiday this year so that means we just will ask people to give a little more if they can," Sununu said.  "We are trying to push consumers to come up to sales-tax-free New Hampshire and when they do maybe they've saved a little money they could put in the kettle."

For 129 years, Salvation Army red kettles around the world have been linked to the Christmas season and to compassion for the needy.

The kettles are responsible for much more than atmosphere and nostalgia during the Christmas season. Last year, money donated at these kettles enabled The Salvation Army to help more than 78,000 individuals statewide with programs, homeless shelters, general and holiday assistance. The Salvation Army provided food, clothing, utilities and emergency disaster aid. Also, children were provided the opportunity to attend The Salvation Army’s Camp Sebago.

There are nine Salvation Army Corps in New Hampshire that offer services and programs for children, adults and seniors in Berlin, Concord, Derry, Greater Seacoast, Keene, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua and Rochester.

Saturday, January 18, 2020