The Salvation Army is marking 130 years of their Christmas kettles, but this year it'll be without the red donation pots.

Major Jamie Rands is the Divisional Secretary for public relations with the Salvation Army prairie division. 

"This is our 130th year for our iconic red Christmas kettles that you'd see all around town, generally at our department stores or in the shopping centres. We would usually have a kettle set up with a wonderful volunteer with a smile on their face."

With all the malls and thrift stores shut down in the month of December due to the lockdown during the pandemic, this has made the red kettles in Winnipeg non-existent. 

"Sometimes a great conversation would take place at the kettles. For myself as a Salvation Army officer, some of the greatest stories that I've heard were standing at a kettle and listening to how the Salvation Army has helped people over the years."

Major Jamie Rands.Major Jamie Rands. (Supplied)

That has been one aspect Rands misses this year without the kettles up around Winnipeg. Instead, this year all donations have gone to an online platform, like most events. 

"We adapted and everything we're doing is on an online format," he says. 

The Salvation Army's goal with the Christmas kettles is to raise $530,000 and they are only 14 per cent of the way there.

"It's our largest fundraiser of the year and if we're going to continue to serve thousands of Manitobans in the year to come, we're going to need the publics' help like never before."

The organization has been helping vulnerable families since 1886.

"Donations help support local people in the community with Christmas hampers and toys. Also services such as meal programs, food banks, recovery programs, housing support, sheltering, job and life skills training and even education classes."

Anyone who wants to donate can do so on their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.