KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The sound of bells ringing by red kettles is one of the longest holiday traditions when it comes to supporting KC families in need.
But donations are down at the Salvation Army, which could affect metro families next year.
The organization said it lost a week of the 'Red Kettle Campaign' because of where Thanksgiving fell. With the campaign ending after Christmas, Major David Harvey said it hurts.
"That week we lost," Harvey said, "we really need people to give a larger amount so we can again serve those children and adults this time of year."
Harvey said they're down $100,000 for the Red Kettle Campaign and $300,000 away from the final goal -- $1.2 million.
Shopper Ashley Williams has an idea why there's a drop.
"Personally I never have any change. I always have cards and gift cards, so I never have anything I can give," she said.
But the Salvation Army wants you to think again.
There's a QR code on every poster above their red kettle stands. It's a way to donate without extra cash or change at the bottom of your purse. The problem is most people don't know about it.
"Of course," Williams said. "I didn't know that."
"That'll probably help," shopper Quinn Watts said. "I feel like people don't carry cash as much as they used to."
The Salvation Army has collected a little more than $4,000 with Apple and Google Pay.
The Kansas and Western Missouri division has raised the most money through electronic kettle pay in the country -- and that's including some big competitors like New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
But former bell ringer Diane Roth prefers the old fashioned way: hearing change drop in the bucket.
"It's not as fulfilling, I don't think, as putting money in," Roth said, "but that's a great option."
Harvey said it's a way of the future to get donations back where they need to be to help metro families.
"We've had several people stop and do that, which is a big help. We think that will grow from year to year as we leave from a cash-based society to more electronics."
If you're an online shopper and don't make it out to shopping districts all that often, you can always donate online at SalvationArmy.org.