"I don't have any cash" won't be a valid reason to bypass the Salvation Army Red Kettles this year.  They're making it really easy to donate with smartphones.  

The Christmas Kick-Off just happened last Friday at the Broadway Square Mall with music from Tyler Junior College Low Brass Ensemble, an appearance by the Salvation Army’s mascot, Captain Kettle, and a big launch for the Red Kettle and Angel Tree programs.  Red Kettles will be out through December, and KLTV said 39 locations will host red kettles this season.

New this year, donors can use Apple Pay or Google Pay to donate by scanning the QR code and NFC tag on the kettles.  If you don't have Apple Pay or Google Pay you can use your camera and scan the QR code to make a quick donation.

Since more of us are going cashless, asking for cash and coins at storefronts can be a bit of a lost cause for a charity.  It's not that we don't want to donate -- we would just have to go find an ATM first.  The Salvation Army hopes the smartphone option prompts more of us to stop, scan, and donate and then get on with our errands.  And it's a good security move too.  Kettles don't get robbed too often, but cashless donations could reduce thefts even more.

In addition to the Red Kettles, we can donate on the Salvation Army website too, and that helps the Red Kettle Campaign, Angel Tree program, and other programs throughout the year.

The Salvation Army says 33 percent of its yearly donations roll in through Red Kettles, and those are only out in November and December.

Ellie Goulding will perform at halftime of the Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day, to launch the Red Kettle season nationwide.

Last year the Red Kettle Campaign raised $142.7 million.