(CNN)Salvation Army bell ringers, the folks you see jingling bells by red kettles at Christmastime, will be carrying a new prop this year: A card explaining the Christian church and charity’s approach to LGBTQ people.
Designed to help bell ringers answer questions from passersby, the cards include a link to online testimonials from LGBTQ people helped by the Salvation Army’s array of social services, from homeless shelters to rehab clinics and food pantries.
“For years, Facebook posts, forwarded emails and rumors have been leading some people to believe the Salvation Army does not serve members of the LGBTQ community,” the cards read. “These accusations are simply not true.”
To many Americans, the Army’s social services may be far more familiar than its politics or theology. Ranked number two in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of “America’s Favorite Charities,” it raised $1.5 billion in donations last year. The Red Kettle campaign began 129 years ago, when a Salvationist put out a pot for the needy on Market Street in San Francisco.