KITCHENER -- Charities are going virtual and coming up with other creative ways to fundraise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Salvation Army Kettle Bells, for example, will be silent this year.

"We determined that in our red zones and in our lockdown zones that it would not be safe or wise to have our kettles out," said Rob Kerr with the Salvation Army.

The Kettle Bell fundraiser has moved online this year instead.

"Just because you don't see our kettles out doesn't mean the Salvation Army doesn't need your help," Kerr said.

He added it was difficult decision, but also a necessary one.

"A lot of our volunteers were a reason we had to consider this, as well as our donors," Kerr said. "We just want to keep everybody safe."

The Rotary Club of Cambridge cancelled two of four events this year, but came up with a virtual auction to make up for those events.

"This was an absolutely new adventure for them," said Ivana Schibono with the club. "We just did some brainstorming and came up with perhaps an online auction."

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region said fundraising is incredibly important to help the community this year.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've actually seen a 30 per cent increase in new households accessing assistance for the very first time," CEO Wendi Campbell.

They've also shifted to online events to continue fundraising.

"Those events have done really well," she said.

The charities say the holiday season is about community helping community, even if it's through a screen.