CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When he was down on his luck, David McKinney turned to the Salvation Army for help.
The charity's social programs helped him earn enough money to buy a car, and he's on his way to being able to afford a place to live on his own.
Now he's giving back by serving as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
“I’m doing it to help the people out," he said.
This year, there's a way to donate to the annual campaign that doesn't require people to have cash: The Salvation Army has posted a QR code next to the kettle.
If you scan it with your phone, you're directed to a website that allows you to make a donation through Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal.
“If they don’t have the cash on them, they can use the code," McKinney said. "So it’s good. It’s good to donate from the code and come up and donate in the kettle, too.”
Whether it's in the kettle or online, 100 percent of the donations go toward supporting the services provided by the Salvation Army of the Coastal Bend.
"These programs go directly to families and individuals who are facing homelessness," the organization's public relations director Monica Barrera said. "And those funds help them get into a safe place to live.”
Just last month, the local Salvation Army helped 98 people transition from living on the street to more suitable housing.
The local chapter hopes people will open up their wallets physically — and digitally — this holiday season.
“The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year," Barrera said. "We really do rely on the support from the community so that we can reach our goal of $200,000.”
The online option could help them with that, because it gives people the opportunity to make larger donations.
"I would have (used the QR code) if I’d have seen that," Jennifer Barrera said. "I only have like 5 bucks (in cash), and I gave it."
The Salvation Army hopes more people choose the online option now that the word is getting out about it.
“I just saw one (donor) get the code," McKinney said. "But they’ve been donating a lot in the kettle today."
Red kettles can be found outside Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and Mardell stores, and at La Palmera Mall.
You can also make an online donation by clicking here.