Salvation Army kettle kickoff 3

A woman passing through Penn Square drops a donation into one of the Salvation Army's red kettles on Penn Square in this photo taken in November 2014.

With the 2020 holiday season landing squarely amid a surging pandemic, some of Lancaster County's charitable organizations have adjusted their fundraising or donations.

Several have added virtual donation options. Blood drives have added incentives and COVID-19 antibody testing. Holiday dinners have shifted to food giveaways.

But there are still plenty of ways to give in Lancaster County. Below you'll find eight of those options. Know of more? Email 

Gifts That Give Hope Lancaster 

Gifts That Give Hope Lancaster will host a virtual holiday fundraiser Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Gifts that Give Hope, over 13 years of fundraising, has raised over $300,000 for a variety of charitable organizations, both locally and globally. Shoppers at the virtual gift fair will find 30 local and global nonprofit organizations. For more information, click here. Each nonprofit will have a donation-based gifts for shoppers to purchase for friends and family on their holiday gift lists. 

Alternative giving helps people give threefold by showing friends and family you care about them with a thoughtful gift, by supporting organizations who contribute positively to the social landscape, and by combating the environmental impact of consumerism, the event’s organizers said in a release. 

Lancaster County Project for the Needy holiday dinner giveaway 

The 34th annual Lancaster County Project for the Needy holiday dinner giveaway will be held on Saturday, Dec. 19. LPCN has partnered with United Way and UPMC to provide a holiday meal for needy families throughout Lancaster County. There will be no pick-up location at Clipper Stadium this year because of Covid-19 concerns. Instead, families must pre-register for the event by calling the United Way of Lancaster County’s 211 hotline or (855) 567-5341 before Friday, Dec. 11. Click here for more information.  

Because the food boxes will be delivered, delivery drivers are needed. Deliveries will begin at 8 a.m. on Dec. 19 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 64 Hershey Ave., Lancaster. Drivers must be 21 or older, possess a current driver’s license with no outstanding violations and have minimum level automobile insurance. Drivers must sign up ahead of time and sign a waiver/release form. Email Tom Fasnacht of LCPN,, by December 11. 

Toys for Tots

The annual Marine Corps League’s Toys for Tots drive is being held both in person and virtually in 2020. Donations at in-person drop sites will be picked up on December 15. You can also donate online or by mailing in a check. The league also suggests starting a crowdfunding page or local fundraising page to collect donations. If you’re mailing a check, please write the check out to “Toys for Tots” and write “Lancaster County” in the memo section to ensure your donation stays in the county. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 227, Columbia PA 17512. Find out more about how to donate online by clicking here.

Arc Angel

The Arc Lancaster Lebanon’s Arc Angel program connects community givers with individuals who have Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities and need holiday gifts, in collaboration with Lancaster County Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. This year, Arc is asking donations be in the form of gift cards, which will be distributed to people with disabilities who have limited or no family supports, or whose families have financial barriers, and who would not otherwise receive presents. To become an Angel, please contact Amy by phone at (717) 394-5251, or by email at


The Pennsylvania SPCA's Lancaster Center is accepting donations at three drop-off locations to help the underserved pet owner community. Donations of pet food, toys, cat litter, gift cards and money will be accepted at 

  • Pennsylvania SPCA Lancaster Center, 848 South Prince Street, Lancaster  

  • That Fish Place That Pet Place, 237 Centerville Road, Lancaster 

  • Playful Pups Retreat Daycare and Training Center, 460 Hershey Road, Elizabethtown 

Families in need will be chosen by local police, fire departments and by nomination. To nominate someone, send the nominee’s name, address, number of pets, breed types, any dietary restrictions and any additional information to

Blood drives with COVID-19 antibody testing

Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank will be holding two blood drives in December with COVID-19 antibody testing available. On Tuesday, December 15, a blood drive will be held at Park City Center, Lancaster, from 8 a.m. to. 8 p.m., and the Blood Bank and Lancaster Barnstorms will host a drive on Thursday, December 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

Testing is available with each successful blood donation. Appointments are encouraged and can be made by clicking here or by calling 1-800-771-0059. Walk-ins are welcome, but donors with appointments will be taken first. Masks required. Donors will receive a ticket voucher for the 2021 Barnstormers season, a Penn Cinema movie pass, a blood donor t-shirt and an Oregon Dairy certificate for a buy one, get one free single dip ice cream cone or dish.

Virtual Senior Center Zoom programs

Lancaster County Office of Aging created a virtual senior center this fall to reach isolated seniors. The agency is looking for volunteers to share interests via Zoom with seniors; that could include playing a game, doing an art project, sharing travel videos and photos, teaching a class. The program could be a one-time project or ongoing. Contact Bev Via at or 1-717-299-7979 for more details.

Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

You’ll still hear The Salvation Army’s signature bell ringers this year. There will just be fewer of them, and those who are participating are taking extra precautions.  

The Red Kettle Campaign is the organization’s largest annual fundraising event. “We need the community’s help more than ever this year to help us rescue Christmas for so many in need,” says Maj. Dean Satterlee, Lancaster commanding officer. To meet this year’s staggering number of people facing hardship, The Salvation Army has launched Rescue Christmas. The fundraising effort introduces the first virtual Red Kettle Campaign – you can donate to the virtual red kettle here.  

Volunteers from civic groups, businesses and others man their kettles Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The ringers adhere to CDC guidelines, including frequent temperature checks, wearing masks and gloves, practicing social distancing from donors, having hand sanitizers available, and using disinfectant wipes continually to clean kettles and bells. 

Here are several places where you’ll find Salvation Army bell-ringers in Lancaster County this year: Walmart stores; Bomberger’s Store, Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, JC Penney, Shady Maple Farm Market, Oregon Dairy, Fulton Bank at Penn Square, John Herr’s Village Market and Weaver Nut Co. 

To volunteer to be a bell ringer, contact Adrienne Kautz at 717-397-7565 or email Adrienne.Kautz@USE.SalvationArmy.Org by December 18. 

Last year, the Red Kettle Campaign raised $169,930, exceeding its goal of $165,000. This year’s goal remains at $165,000. From March through October this year, Lt. Michael Buzzard, assistant commanding officer, says, The Salvation Army served 175,368 meals to 12,685 individuals in the county —almost 10 times the meals served in 2019, not counting holiday food distribution. With many people at risk of eviction before the end of the year, financial help is needed for rent or mortgage payments. Over $25,000 already has been distributed for rent and utility aid, more than double the amount given for all of 2019. The Salvation Army’s program Coats for Kids distributed 1,300 coats, 300 more than same time last year.


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