You don’t need cash to donate to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign this year, but the nonprofit does need more volunteer bell ringers.

For its 129th year, the annual fundraising campaign leading up to Christmas is accepting non-cash donations via Google Pay and Apple Pay. The nonprofit added non-cash donations as a way to adapt to an increasingly cashless society.

Major Jonathan Fjellman of the Mankato Salvation Army said he’s not sure what to expect from the first campaign with non-cash donations.

“I haven’t seen many, but at least it’s there,” he said.

The Salvation Army still accepts bills and coins along with Google Pay and Apple Pay. Fjellman said he’s had to assure some people the classic donations will still work.

“They thought we weren’t going to let people give the other way, but it’s just to make it so it’s more available to everyone,” he said.

The nonprofit won’t know how many non-cash donations were made until the campaign ends after Christmas Eve. Fjellman said the campaign goal, which funds Salvation Army programs including the community lunch and men’s shelter, is again $190,000 this year. It raised more than $180,000 last year.

More bell ringers will be needed to get there, as Fjellman said there are currently more kettles than ringers. The ringers greet shoppers at local retailers, usually leading to more donations than solitary kettles do.

Barb Lamb of Janesville has been out ringing several times this fall. Outside Cub Foods off of Madison Avenue Friday, she said she likes being the first friendly face shoppers see when they walk through the doors.

“The people, they’re so excellent,” she said. “ … You meet so many nice people.”

She hadn’t seen any shoppers use the Google Pay and Apple Pay options yet. Shoppers scan their phones over a code displayed at the kettles to make the non-cash donations.

The Salvation Army has kettles stationed at 12 different stores around town. For more information on the sites and volunteer bell ringing, go to www.registertoring.com.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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